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THE WIDOWHOOD 
OF QUEEN VICTORIA 




V 



W THE WIDOWHOOD 

OF QUEEN VICTORIA /r 



BY 

CLARE JERROLD 

AUTHOR OF 

THE EARLY COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA," "THE MARRIED LIFE OF 

QUEEN VICTORIA," " THE STORY OF DOROTHY JORDAN," 

"STORIES OF THE KAISER." ETC. 



LONDON 
EVELEIGH NASH COMPANY 

LIMITED 
I 9 l6 



_*' 






PREFACE 

HAVING dealt with "The Early Court of Queen 
Victoria," and " The Married Life of Queen Victoria," 
it seemed appropriate to round off this critical bio- 
graphy of the late Queen by describing the second 
half of her life, that which was spent in widowhood. 
This volume gives a presentation, not of events of 
history or politics, but of Queen Victoria's influence 
on those events, of her sorrows and joys, her mistakes 
and successes. She, " a poor, helpless woman," to use 
her own words, had suddenly to furnish herself with 
a support by the help of which she could gather again 
into her own hands the affairs of State; and the sup- 
port she chose, though natural to one of her tem- 
perament, brought about some curious results. 

Her great affection for all things Teutonic, her 
unwavering determination to work " for a strong 
Prussia and a united Germany," may not have been 
without their effect upon the German mind when the 
war lords were laying their plans for the conquest of 
Europe. 

CLARE JERROLD. 



55 




CONTENTS 

PART I 
THE GREAT MISTAKE 

CHAP. PACK 

I THE QUEEN ALONE ...... 3 

II A PRINCE IN BONDAGE . . . . . .15 

in THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN ..... 25 

IV A STRONG PRUSSIA . . . . . -41 

V FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES ..... 6O 

VI ROYAL SECLUSION. . . . . . -7 

VII SUBJECTS IN REVOLT ...... 89 

VIII TWO PRIME MINISTERS . . . ... 106 

IX THE BELOVED GERMANY . . . . .130 

X FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH . . . 147 

XI THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS . . . .172 

XII FAMILY JARS . . . . . . .187 

PART II 
IMPERIALISM 

XIII YACHTS IN THE SOLENT ..... 205 

XIV QUEEN-EMPRESS . . . . . . .214 

XV A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY . . . . .225 

XVI ANGER AND MORTIFICATION ..... 246 

xvii "JOHN BROWN'S BODY". . . . . -273 

XVIII THE GERMAN INVASION . . . . . .296 

xix "SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED" . . . -311 

XX GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS ! . . . . 3 2 3 

XXI THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE .... 342 

XXII THE CROWN PRINCESS ...... 368 

XXIII IMPERIAL GROWTH ...... 384 

XXIV NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT ...... 406 

XXV THE APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA . . . 424 

INDEX . . . . . . . -447 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ) 

QUEEN VICTORIA ....... Frontispiece 

PRINCE CONSORT AND QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1860 To face page 12 

THE PRINCE CONSORT IN l86l ... ,, 2O 

QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1864 .... 82 

(From a painting by Winterhalter) 

W. E. GLADSTONE ...... ,, 108 

BENJAMIN DISRAELI ..... ,, 126 

QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1865 .... 132 

KING EDWARD VII AS PRINCE OF WALES . . 346 

H.R.H. THE PRINCESS ROYAL .... ,, 374 
(Front a painting by Winterhalter) 



PART I* 



THE GREAT MISTAKE 



CHAPTER I 

THE QUEEN ALONE 

IN the ancient palace of our kings a woman's heart lay 
(bleeding; and to the supreme place in birth, in station, in 
I [splendour and in power was now added another and sadder 
title of pre-eminence in grief." W. E. Gladstone at Man- 
chester, March 1862. 

"With Prince Albert we have buried our Sovereign. This 
German Prince has governed England for twenty-one years with 
a wisdom and energy such as none of our kings have ever 
shown. He was the permanent private secretary of the Queen. 
[f he had outlived some of our ' old stagers ' he would have 
jiven us, while retaining all constitutional guarantees, the 
Blessings of absolute government." Benjamin Disraeli, in 
conversation -with Count Vitzthum von Eckstaedt. 

WITH the death of the Prince Consort ended the 
comfortable state of actual, though not apparent, 
irresponsibility in which Queen Victoria had lived 
since the early years of her marriage. As a girl- 
queen she had found herself placed suddenly in a 
position of great power ; from the schoolroom she went 
to the throne; from living in a state of absolute sub- 
ordination she saw the gate of the fairyland of seem- 
ng freedom open wide, and, seizing her opportunity, 
he went through quickly and shut the gate behind 
ler. When her mother tried to follow the way was 
marred and the barrier was labelled, " No interference." 

From the moment that William IV changed this life 

3 



4 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

for perhaps a better one Victoria openly showed the I 
strength of her development ; she had at last the oppor-| 
tunity of turning a deaf ear to maternal advice, she j 
could shake herself free from what was publicly known I 
as the Kensington Camarilla, could enjoy solitude jj 
and talk with whom she would. These possibilitie 
crowded upon her mind and gave her the first taste of 
royal luxury. " Allow me, my dear mamma, to be 
alone for two hours," was the first advantage she took 
of the new position, and the last request made as a 
child to her mother. 

Her fresh duties she grasped at eagerly. She reac 
dispatches while her maid was plaiting her hair, and 
took a curious and intelligent interest in all matters 
of State. Yet though her outlook, her surroundings, 
her habits all were changed, there was one thing which 
remained the same : she was still at lessons under a 
tutor. This tutor was the courtly, kindly gentleman, 
Lord Melbourne, who saw her every day and ex- 
plained things with the most direct simplicity. To 
his influence she unconsciously and quite willingly 
fell again into bondage. 

It was a different bondage; one which was not 
bounded by the four walls of a room, by the covers of 
a lesson book, or by maternal solicitude for conven- 
tion. Her interests were as wide as her kingdom, and 
for the time she did not wish to go beyond. Her mind 
was so full of the new lessons that independent thought 
was impossible, and she deferred in all things to her 
preceptor. She was being educated in the ways of 
the world as well as in those of the State, and her 



THE QUEEN ALONE 5 

diary of the period shows far more evidence of 
pleasant gossip about people and events than about 
public business. In the latter she did as she was told, 
for the telling was judicious in the extreme. 

In personal matters, however, the young Queen 
could sustain an opinion of her own unswervingly, 
as was evinced when the two old gentlemen, Mel- 
bourne and Wellington, thought it indelicate for a 
young girl to hold a military review in Hyde Park on 
horseback, and combined to force her to the igno- 
minious position of the corner of a carriage. 

" No, my lord; no horse, no review," was her reply; 
and there was no review. The next year there were 
both horse and review. 

There were, on her part, other determined refusals 
to be guided by advice on personal matters which 
have already been described in an earlier volume; 
two of them shattered her popularity with the aris- 
tocracy. They were definite indications of the line 
she would take in personal and social incidents to the 
end of her long life; just as her relations with Mel- 
bourne were symbolical of her attitude to the problem 
of government, which, in a curious way, remained 
with her to the end. 

She was wilful enough when lovers came upon the 
scene; yet when the lover became the husband she 
once more hung up the notice : " No interference ! " 
and the notice was exhibited for many months, to the 
painful bewilderment of Prince Albert, who com- 
plained that his little wife listened to all that Mel- 
bourne said, but remained " inattentive to the plans 



6 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and measures proposed " and " thought it unnecessary 
entirely to comprehend them " ; 1 in fact, that she 
allowed herself to be dominated by her adviser. The 
Prince set to work to alter this, and in course of 
time was able to announce himself as the Queen's 
Permanent Minister. 

From that day things went well between the* two 
rulers. The Prince allowed nothing to escape his 
careful thought, and Victoria was as ready to say 
" Aye ! " to him as she had been to say it to Melbourne. I 
Thus it was through the remainder of her married 
life, though the Prince carried his peculiarly German 
ideas of royal responsibility to a pitch most discon- 
certing to the Queen's Ministers, and succeeded in 
making himself unpopular with all classes. But in 
all difficulties he himself referred to his own tutor, 
Stockmar, and thus the ultimate royal word upon the 
government of England was in all great, and often 
in little, things uttered by a German baron, whose 
knowledge of English statecraft was purely academic. 
So the reactionary Teutonic theory of the divine right 
of kings and the subservience of ministers was planted 
upon the English Constitution, and for half a century 
enjoyed a precarious existence. 

By 1 86 1 the Queen was in danger of being spoilt, 
for she had become autocratic, and even with her 
hard-working husband insisted upon a recognition of 
her supreme position. She ruled her household under 
his guidance with a remarkable knowledge of detail, 
she ruled her children lovingly and yet with severity, 
1 Letters of Queen Victoria. 



THE QUEEN ALONE 7 

and she took an intelligent interest in foreign affairs, 
though all royal action concerning them was accord- 
ing to the Prince's decision. Indeed, her life was 
full without the intrusion of the actual fact of govern- 
ing; this she was content to leave to her husband, but 
she exacted in return the recognition that she was the 
real Sovereign. 

In the midst of this somewhat careless and self- 
centred existence fell the blow which cut like a 
guillotine across her life. 

During the Prince Consort's illness up to Decem- 
ber 12, the Queen could write to King Leopold a 
good report : "I do not sit up with him at night, as 
it could be of no use; and there is nothing to cause 
alarm." Two days later Prince Albert collapsed. 
Thus in a few hours, from comparative security and 
belief in her husband's recuperative powers, Victoria 
found herself faced with the most appalling loss which 
could have befallen her. She had actually lost her 
better half, for it was the half which was the reality 
of the Throne and which helped her to keep the 
appearance of it. Truly enough could she say in 
a letter to Lord Canning, who had just lost his 
wife 

" To lose one's partner in life is, as Lord Canning 
knows, like losing half of one's body and soul, torn 
forcibly away . . . but to the Queen to a poor 
helpless woman it is not that only it is the stay, 
support and comfort which is lost. To the Queen it 
is like death in life ! Great and small, nothing was 
done without his loving advice and help and she 



8 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

feels alone in the wide world. . . . Her misery, her 
utter despair she cannot describe." 

Into this chaos of dazed and dreadful feelings 
penetrated another that of fear; a fear which was 
engendered by the promised arrival of her Uncle 
Leopold, he who from the time that she was a baby 
had fathered and advised her. She feared that now, 
being alone, she would see him once again assume 
the tone of paternal dictator; and in the midst of her 
helplessness, her sensation of being lost and power- 
less, she felt that any suspicion of authority over her 
would be unendurable torture. 

If he were dead she had to go on living, bring up 
her children, rule her kingdom, take into her own 
hands that fearful mass of work for the State with 
which Albert had overwhelmed himself. It was an 
impossible task, and yet it was her task. She would 
do it with her dead husband's help. So ten days 
after the tragedy once more the barrier, " No inter- 
ference," was displayed in a letter to King Leopold, 
from which I extract the following 

" I am also anxious to repeat one thing, and that 
one is my firm resolve, my irrevocable decision, viz. 
that his wishes his plans about everything, his 
views about everything are to be my law! And no 
human -power will make me swerve from what he 
decided and wished and I look to you to support 
and help me in this. I apply this particularly as 
regards our children Bertie, etc. for whose future 
he had traced everything so carefully. I am also 
determined that no one person, may he be ever so 



THE QUEEN ALONE 9 

good, ever so devoted among my servants is to lead 
or guide or dictate to me. I know how he would 
disapprove it. And I live on with him, for him; in 
fact, I am only outwardly separated from him, and 
only for a time. . . . Though miserably weak and 
utterly shattered, my spirit rises when I think any 
wish or plan of his is to be touched or changed, or I 
am to be made to do anything." 

King Leopold probably answered this letter in 
person, as he was at Osborne directly after, but it is 
curious to note that even before the letter was written 
he had made his authority felt by the widowed Queen 
in insisting upon her leaving Windsor before the 
funeral. Indeed, the protest may have been the direct 
result of his dictation. 

There probably was something more than a pander- 
ing to conventional custom in the pressure he put 
upon the Queen to go away from the castle, for 
though the published reason for the Prince Consort's 
death was gastric fever and congestion of the lungs, 
the medical papers assured the public that it was 
typhoid. 1 Two years earlier there had been an alarm- 
ing outbreak of typhoid at Windsor, both in the castle 
and the town, and for many years after 1861 Windsor 
was known as one of the most insanitary places in 
England. The castle itself had been partially cleared 
of the fifty-one unventilated cesspools constructed 

1 The Lancet and Medical Times also said that one bulletin 
issued on Dec. n, saying- that the fever was "unattended by 
any unfavourable symptoms," was not issued as written, but 
that the first word, "hitherto," had been struck out "by an 
illustrious person with her own hand." 



10 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

beneath it, and of which Sir Jeffrey Wyattville, when 
making his alterations, remarked dubiously, " I hope 
it is all right, but there will be a terrible stink one 
day." But there still remained a condition of things 
which was bad enough to poison the whole royal 
household, and so it was proved when examination 
of the drainage began in January 1862. 

At Osborne Queen Victoria remained with her 
younger children while the body of the Prince was 
placed temporarily in a vaulted passage beneath 
St. George's Chapel; and to Osborne the mourners 
who came from Germany went to see her after the 
funeral, among them being the finicking, fretful Duke 
Ernst of Saxe-Coburg, who loved not the sea and 
suffered agony in his "terrible passage to Dover." 
Victoria wished to see him on his way to Windsor, 
so, to his horror, he was not allowed to recover gently 
on land, but was at once carried by express to Ports- 
mouth, and " in spite of the raging storm" was obliged 
to embark on the Queen's yacht, the Fire-Queen, and 
steam to Osborne. 

It was not a pleasant experience for a middle-aged 
gentleman, and it was made worse by the fact that to 
ensure privacy the Queen had commanded that the 
yacht should not enter Cowes, but anchor in the open 
road below Osborne House, whence the Duke pro- 
ceeded in a small rowing-boat through wild waves to 
the landing-place. It was near the hour of midnight 
when, frozen with cold, drenched to the skin, and 
every emotion chilled, the unfortunate man entered 
Victoria's home. The servant who opened the door 



THE QUEEN ALONE 11 

to him quickly disappeared, and then alone he went 
to the Queen, who awaited him on the staircase 

;< Thus I found the unhappy woman, bowed down 
with sorrow and utterly prostrate in the stillness of 
the night, which was interrupted by nothing but the 
loud grief which deprived us both of words." l 

Of the funeral Ernst wrote : " Of the Queen's 
family I had none at my side but the Prince of Wales. 
The more comforting was the sympathy of the Orleans 
family, hardly a member of which had remained 
absent." 

He ignores the German princes who were present, 
also the fact that Prince Arthur was there; and as 
Victoria's son Alfred was away at sea and little 
Leopold was at Cannes and the Duke of Cambridge 
ill, there were no others to go. 

Though the Queen was not present she had care- 
fully studied the proceedings and had ordered one 
alteration. The proclamation of the Garter-King-at- 
Arms at the graveside should have ended with a refer- 
ence to her, " whom God bless and preserve with long 
life, health and happiness." The last word was 
changed to honour. 

Duke Ernst went back to Osborne to spend this 
" the saddest of Christmases with the Queen, and as 
though loss and loneliness were not enough, menace 
and a hint of war threatened her Majesty from the 
Solent." It was the time of the American civil war, 
and England, with its noisy sympathy for the South, 
was allowing buccaneering vessels to coal, refit and 
1 Memoirs of Ernst, Second Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. 



12 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

man in English ports, pretending not to know that 
they were rovers against the Northern States. One 
such, the Nashville, was then in Southampton Water, 
and so an American man-of-war, the Tuscarora, flying 
no flag, slipped into the Solent and anchored off 
Osborne. Ernst and Victoria jumped to the conclu- 
sion that the intention was to threaten the latter per- 
sonally. The guards at Osborne were reinforced, two 
English frigates cruised between the island and the 
American ship, and gradually everything assumed a 
warlike aspect. "At any moment," says the Duke, 
" some unforeseen incident, such as would have been 
nothing new in the English navy, might have been 
followed by the most dreadful consequences." How- 
ever, nothing did happen; the Tuscarora remained 
for some days, ran into Southampton Water on 
January 8 and spent some time silently daring the 
Nashville to move, and what occurred later I do not 
know. 

Queen Victoria remained at Osborne for weeks, 
taking "great pleasure in the universal feeling of 
sympathy for her and sorrow for him shown by all 
classes," and in reading and re-reading the innumer- 
able consolatory letters she had received, and all of 
which she carefully preserved. It is curious, in the 
light of after events, to note that she was most deeply 
impressed by the letter written by Gladstone and that 
she specially answered it, begging him to write again. 
Gladstone's speech at Manchester on the Prince 
Consort's death, showing how well he could sympa- 
thize with loss, is now historic. Victoria's whole 




PRINCE CONSORT AND QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1860 



THE QUEEN ALONE 33 

conversation during those weeks at Osborne was of 
the Prince, " and she found much comfort in it," said 
Lady Ely, who left early in February, being ill and 
much depressed, a state to which most of the Queen's 
attendants had been reduced by the constant demand 
made upon their active show of sympathy. 

In politics matters were greatly complicated by the 
serious illness of Palmerston, who had a severe attack 
of gout, it being feared that he would not recover; 
indeed, his death was actually reported at one time. 
Had he died the Queen would have regarded it as 
a very great calamity for her, so near had she and 
her old enemy approached each other in these days. 
But if Pam were incapable of conducting public 
affairs, Victoria herself found it intolerable to induct 
herself once again into the resumption of the actual 
practice of her regal duties; indeed, her strong deter- 
mination to live according to the Prince's ideals hung 
for a little in the balance. She wanted to do it, but 
the effort was too dreadful; she surely could have 
some respite; no one would expect her at once to 
put her shoulders under the yoke. Thus it was that, 
when obliged to communicate with her Ministers, she 
left it to Sir Charles Phipps, the keeper of the privy 
purse, to act as her mouthpiece. The Ministers were 
unwilling to allow the formation of a new precedent 
of so important a nature, and signed a memorial 
refusing to transact business with her in this unofficial 
way. The Earl of Malmesbury judged that their 
action, "though right, was certainly cruel under 
present circumstances." But the cruelty may be 



doubted. Her Majesty was for years only too fully 
inclined to indulge her grief to the exclusion of 
everything else, and something of sufficient importance 
to divert her mind must have been, even at that early 
date, a blessing. 

If the Queen had chosen as her deputy the right 
person, the heir to the throne, the incident might have 
been regarded differently. But this she would not 
do. She was determined, for one thing, that the young 
prince should go through with the programme already 
marked out for him by his father, in spite of any 
arguments which might be urged against it by King 
Leopold or any one else; and she had also made up 
her mind that Albert Edward was the last person 
upon whom she would call for help. So she bowed 
to the demands of her Ministers and held a Privy 
Council at Osborne on January 6, 1862. "This most 
painful exertion," she described it; and such it must 
have been, for it was twenty years since she had met 
her Privy Councillors without the support of the 
Prince Consort. 



CHAPTER II 

A PRINCE IN BONDAGE 

" Busch. They live above the cloud of courtiers and other 
menials, separated by them from the ideas and feelings of other 
mortals, whose wishes and opinions only reach them in a 
mutilated or adapted form, and sometimes not at all. 

"Bismarck. The comparison is a good one, gods and yet very 
human. They ought to be better educated, so that they should 
know how things look here below, how the real are not appear- 
ances but truth." Moritz Busch: Bismarck, Some Secret 
Pages of his History. 

"In Edinburgh next, thy poor noddle, perplext, 

The gauntlet must run of each science and study, 
Till the mixed streams of knowledge, turned on by the 

college, 

Through the fields of thy boy-brains run shallow and muddy. 
Dipped in grey Oxford mixture (lest that prove a fixture), 

The poor lad 's to be plunged in less orthodox Cam, 
When dynamics and statics, and pure mathematics, 
Will be piled on his brain's awful cargo of cram. 
Where next the boy may go, to swell the farrago, 

We haven't yet heard, but the palace they're plotting in; 
To Berlin, Jena, Bonn, he'll no doubt be passed on, 

And drop in for a finishing touch, p'raps at Gottingen." 

Punch, September 24, 1859. 

OF late years the Prince of Wales had presented 
great difficulties to his parents, who did not know how 
to reconcile the position and claims of the heir to 
the throne with the anomalous position of his father. 
Victoria had been much agitated by this problem in 
1857 when, as a safeguard, she decided to confer, by 

15 



16 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Royal Letters Patent, as Parliament would not do it 
for her, the title of Prince Consort upon her husband, 
writing about it as follows 

" The children may deny the position which their 
mother has given to their father as a usurpation over 
them, having the law on their side; or, if they waive 
their rights in his favour, he will hold a position 
granted by the forbearance of his children. In both 
cases this is a position most derogatory to the Queen 
as well as to her husband, and dangerous to the peace 
and well-being of her family. If the children resist, 
the Queen will have her husband pushed away from 
her side by her children, and they will take precedence 
over the man whom she is bound to obey; if they 
are dutiful she will owe her peace of mind to their 
continued generosity." 

But when the title was conferred the parental 
uneasiness did not quite disappear, and this led to the 
putting off as long as possible any step which would 
tend to recognize in the Prince of Wales a person of 
responsibility. They also had come to the conclusion 
that he was a disappointment, that he was far from 
reaching anywhere near the ideal which they had raised 
for him. 

In their youth they had unquestioningly accepted 
Baron Stockmar's dictum that from the very first 
nay, from before his birth, their son must be trained 
for his high and kingly state ; they thought unceasingly 
about him and his mental needs, consulted over every 
detail, mapped out every branch of knowledge which 
he was to acquire. His mind was to them the blank 



A PRINCE IN BONDAGE 17 

page upon which they were to imprint their own ideals. 
They never realized that the boy was born with a tem- 
perament and predilections of his own, and they felt 
injured and surprised when their impressions came out 
blurred and spoilt. They gave him history, science 
and languages to study, and there they stopped, and, 
in stopping, failed. Romance was rigidly barred ; even 
the good and staid Sir Walter was accounted too 
frivolous for a young prince. In his childhood there 
had been no fairy tales, and in his youth poetry was 
banished, while none of the graces of literature were 
allowed to lighten and brighten the dry ways of history 
and science. His mind was kept in a prison, and his 
body was scarcely more free, for his actions and habits 
were strictly regulated through every minute of the 
day. Albert Edward, like the little Princess Victoria 
of an earlier generation, was never permitted to be 
alone, and very seldom allowed to enjoy the society of 
boys of his own age. Well might Prince Metternich 
say of him at sixteen 

" He is pleasant to every one, but he has an em- 
barrassed and a very sad air." 

Any infringement of his parents' rules was met with 
definite punishment, for reason had no great place in 
this iron system. The Prince Consort never spared 
the child by neglecting the rod, and it is on record that 
once when, aSi a little boy, the Prince behaved badly 
in the drawing-room, the Queen took him up and 
administered with her own hand the correction so dear 
to the hearts of the parents of that period. 

As a young man Albert Edward had to sandwich 
c 

1 , / 



18 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

visits abroad with educational experiments at Edin- 
burgh, Oxford and Cambridge, each of which places 
furnished a story of him, two of which endeared him 
more to the less well- or ill-regulated public than to 
his father; the other pleased all. At Edinburgh he 
was studying under Lyon Playfair, and one day, after 
making the Prince wash his hands to get rid of any 
grease, the lecturer said 

" Now, sir, if you have any faith in science you will 
plunge your right hand into this cauldron of boiling 
lead and ladle it out into the cold water which is 
standing by." 

" Are you serious ? " asked the Prince, and on being 
assured that he was, he said, "If you tell me to do it 
I will." 

" I do tell you," answered Playfair, and the Prince 
ladled out the burning fluid without scald or hurt. 

Wherever the youth went he was surrounded by men 
of a mature age. Sir Edward Dicey 1 tells how he 
saw him in Rome often, but " no one ever saw the 
Prince out of doors alone ; he was always accompanied 
by one or both his tutors, General Grey or Mr. 
Frederick Gibbs, Fellow of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge. Admirably qualified to explain monuments 
they may have been, but they were certainly not the 
companions that a young prince would have chosen." 

It was so until he was twenty-one, and it was the 
duty of the elderly gentleman at the moment respon- 
sible to send daily reports to the parents, giving a 

1 King Edward VII: Biographical and Personal Sketches. 
By Sir Edward Dicey. 



A PRINCE IN BONDAGE Id 

detailed narrative of his pupil's life during the pre- 
ceding day, telling where he had been, whom he had 
spoken to or seen. 

Thus it was not to be wondered at that now and 
then the youth rebelled and tried to escape into a 
short freedom. A story goes that when at Oxford 
he rose quietly very early one morning and left the 
city of learning while his estimable tutors were still 
sleeping the sleep of the just. However, they soon 
found it out, and going to the station discovered that 
he had taken a ticket to London, whereupon they wired 
to his father, with the result that the truant was met 
at the terminus by two footmen in charge of a royal 
carriage. They asked him where he wished to be 
driven, and he replied, with quiet humour 

" To Exeter Hall." 

The Cambridge story is much the same, except 
that this time the footmen brought a letter from the 
Queen desiring his attendance at lunch at Buckingham 
Palace. 

By 1 86 1 Albert Edward was practically banished 
from home excepting for a very short time there in 
between college and travel. Thus, had his father 
lived, he would have spent at Windsor the days 
between the end of the term and the 28th of December, 
when a journey to the East would have begun. This 
sort of thing had been going on for some years, and 
people who watched events did not scruple to say that 
Albert-Victoria had no desire for the presence of their 
eldest son at the centre of affairs; that the Prince 
Consort was simply putting off the evil day as long 



as possible by labelling these perfunctory collegiate 
careers and these travels abroad as education. 

There were whispers at Court about serious mis- 
deeds on the young prince's part, and after Albert's 
death it was said that the Queen was bitterly angry 
with her son, as she blamed him for his father's fatal 
illness, in that the Prince Consort had caught a chill 
when he went to Cambridge in November to extricate 
him from the effects of some escapade. Colour was 
given to this by the fact that she expressed no desire 
for his presence during the weeks that the Prince was 
ill ; even on the Friday when Dr. Jenner told her that 
her husband's state was most critical she did not send 
for him. He was left in Cambridge in disgrace, shut 
out from the family anxiety because, having been 
brought up on a starvation system, he had fallen into 
excess. Princess Alice sent him a telegram late on 
the Friday, and by starting at once he reached Windsor 
at three on Saturday morning, stricken with grief, 
and ready to do anything. But the suppression under 
which he had been brought up had destroyed his 
initiative, and it was Princess Alice who took the lead. 
Neither then nor later did he ever stand in the position 
of an adviser or helper to his mother. 

Various explanations were given for this, the best 
accredited being the resentment mentioned above, 
which was so keen that Victoria preferred not to have 
her son near her. A totally different one was that she 
gave him the chance of retrieving himself, by asking 
him to become her private secretary, taking up as far 
as possible the work of his father. The Prince, know- 




THE PRINCE CONSORT IN 1861 



A PRINCE IN BONDAGE 21 

ing what that work had been, aware of his own inex- 
perience and his mother's arbitrariness, was afraid of 
the task and begged her not to require so much of him 
at first. It was added that the Queen never forgave 
him his hesitation, and that when later he himself asked 
for the post she absolutely refused to let him associate 
himself in any way with State affairs. 

The latter story is hardly credible. Victoria was 
a rigid little person, and the impressions on her mind 
at the date of Albert's death seemed to remain there 
for about three decades. At that moment both she and 
her husband were disappointed that their son had not 
turned out as they expected, as they felt that their 
careful training ought to have turned him out; they 
were certain that the fault did not lie in their system, 
but in some abnormal strain of wickedness in the boy 
himself, therefore they could neither trust nor rely 
upon him ; and therefore, also, Victoria was determined 
to carry out the final plans for his regeneration which 
had been made by her consort. 

Reports of dissensions and differences between 
mother and son were spread abroad, varied by others 
that the Queen had refused to see or speak with Albert 
Edward at all, and the newspapers began to treat of 
the subject. Thus, ten days pitiably soon after the 
beginning of her Majesty's widowhood a leader ap- 
peared in The Times offering her some advice. Truly 
she was not to be allowed time for grief. There were 
whispers going about probably quite unjustifiably 
of influence inimical to the young prince being 
exercised by the old advisers, King Leopold and 



22 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Stockmar, which perhaps explains the haste of The 
Times. 

The article began by reminding the Queen that there 
had always been discord between the Brunswickian 
sovereigns and their heirs; that the duty of a parent 
was not terminated by change, and that implicit 
obedience should result in mutual confidence and 
affection. 

"We sincerely trust that her Majesty, so superior 
in most respects to most sovereigns of her race, will 
also prove her superiority to them by regarding any 
influence which may interpose between her and the 
confidence of her son as a sinister and ill-omened 
intrusion, boding nothing but evil to her and to him. 
We are sure she will feel what any mother in a 
private station would feel that of all the counsels 
that are offered him there are none which it is so 
desirable that he should follow as her own. A young 
and active mind naturally seeks for employment, and 
it is in the power of the Queen to provide for the 
Prince the most profitable and dignified employment 
in which he can be engaged by associating him with 
her as much as possible in the cares and duties of 
government." 

A day or two later an attack was made on the Prince 
himself which had something of the revivalist twang 
about it. He was admonished that from living a most 
unusually restrained life, he was now the head of the 
family; that two paths lay before him, those of duty 
and pleasure; and that if he wished for public affec- 
tion and esteem he must "choose now the decision 



A PRINCE IN BONDAGE 23 

is to be made this very hour" between frivolity, 
trouble and misery, and a reign of usefulness which 
would make his name blessed for ever ! 

Other papers followed suit, either preaching to 
Albert Edward or defending him, and Reynolds' s 
Newspaper had the temerity to end with this flourish 

" So he will continue a new and better mode of 
reigning in England, one needed by the advance in 
power of the heir and the reserve imposed by that 
advance on the personal action of the Sovereign." 

We can imagine the stupendous anger of Queen 
Victoria at the hint that she, a ruler by right divine, 
was to delegate any scrap of her power to any one, son 
or otherwise. Such words entirely sealed the Prince's 
fate, and four days later it was publicly announced 
that 

' The Prince of Wales will carry out the comple- 
tion of his education and make a tour in the Eastern 
lands." 

The decision came as a blow to many people, for 
workers in various fields had been anticipating with 
pleasure the help of a young and gracious English 
prince between whom and them that strange Germanic 
superiority and stiffness would not lie as a barrier. 
To quote from the Annual Register, he was being sent 
away " at a time when his presence could ill be spared 
at the palace, and when the prospects of the Great 
Exhibition (of 1862) seemed almost to depend on his 
taking the place, of the Prince Consort." 

So Prince Albert Edward went again on his travels 
with his little army of elderly restrainers, and saw 



24 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

many things, the most notable being the holy burial 
place of the Patriarchs, the Cave of Macpelah, where 
were buried Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, 
Jacob and Leah. No European or Christian was 
allowed within the tomb, but the Prince Consort, with 
true Germanic disregard of other nations' suscepti- 
bilities, had ordered that this should be done, and so 
by dint of serious threats the English party gained 
admittance, guarded by a strong military escort, an 
army being sent by the cowed authorities so that 
soldiers should be stationed in every house and on 
every vacant spot in case some infuriated Mussulman 
attempted in his wrath to avenge the intrusion of an 
infidel prince into his Holy of Holies. By such inci- 
dents has Britain earned her reputation for arrogance. 



CHAPTER III 
THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 

"While she was visiting- the Queen after the engagement she 
always came to breakfast in a jacket. ' My dear,' said the 
Queen one day, ' you seem very fond of jackets ! How is it 
that you always wear a jacket? ' ' Well,' said little Alexandra, 
' I like them; and then, you see, a jacket is so economical! 
You can wear different skirts with it, and I have very few 
gowns, having to make them all myself ! My sisters and I 
have no lady's maid, and have been brought up to make all our 
own clothes. I made my own bonnet. ' Bless her ! " jane 
Welsh Carlyle. 

"And there were old gauntlets and pieces of hair; 
And fragments of backcombs, and slippers were there ; 
And the gay were all silent ; their mirth was all hushed ; 
While the dewdrops stood out on the brows of the crushed. 
And the dames of Belgravia were loud in their wail, 
And the matrons of Mayfair all took up the tale; 
And they vowed, as they hurried, unnerved, from the scene, 
That it's no trifling matter to call on the Queen." 

Jon Duan. 

THROUGH the first year or two of her widowhood 
Victoria's chief interest was given to the settling in 
life of some of her children. It was a great anxiety 
to her, though it was absolutely pleasant compared 
with the troubles which arose later over further efforts 
in the same direction. 

The first to be settled was Princess Alice, then 
nineteen, who was engaged to Prince Louis, nephew 
of the then Grand Duke of Hesse Darmstadt; he 

25 



possessed a very small income and no house to which 
to take his bride, but he belonged to the royally 
favoured nation, and the marriage would have taken 
place in the winter but for the Prince Consort's death. 
Parliament granted the Princess 30,000 as dowry and 
a yearly income of 6000, and the wedding took place 
at Osborne very quietly on July i, 1862. From that 
time the affairs of this loving, gentle daughter absorbed 
much of the Queen's thoughts, and many and large 
were the sums of money which went to help the young 
people to make a home at Kranichstein and to pay 
the debts incurred in doing so. Later the Queen 
had a palace built for them in Darmstadt. 

At the end of 1862 the Queen had high hopes of 
seeing Prince Alfred comfortably settled in a king- 
dom of his own, for the Greeks had tired of Otto, 
the king imposed upon them by Russia, France and 
England, and of his rigid Germanic system of govern- 
ment. A student had tried to murder Otto's queen 
Amalie, also a German, and the nation had hailed 
the criminal as a national hero. Upon this the army 
revolted, the King was declared deposed, and the 
royal pair took refuge on a British man-of-war. Then 
the Greeks looked round for a successor, and chose 
young Alfred of England, he being then eighteen 
years old, probably because they hoped by this means 
to regain control of the Ionian Isles, which England 
had taken over. 

The Queen hailed the scheme with delight, which 
caused much disturbance to her Ministers, who fore- 
saw consequent quarrels with France and Russia, as 



THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 27 

the original treaty forbade any relative of either of 
the three signatory Powers taking the Greek throne; 
so she was painfully induced to relinquish the plan, 
and the crown was then offered to King Ferdinand, 
next to Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg. The latter in 
his turn was delighted, and Victoria was even better 
pleased that he should have it than that her own son 
should, for if Ernst went to Greece Alfred would 
have Coburg, However, Otto had accepted to the 
full the German idea of his being a king by divine 
right, and would not abdicate, so the Duke felt that 
his reign might be somewhat hazardous : that he might 
one day find Otto returned, Alfred in possession of 
his duchy, and he a beggar without a home. His 
suggestion then was that his nephew should become 
Regent in Saxe-Coburg until he himself was firmly 
established in his new kingdom. Leopold thought this 
reasonable, but Victoria absolutely refused any com- 
promise; Ernst must go, and go for good. A royal 
quarrel resulted, and the Queen considered herself 
greatly harassed and ill-used by her brother-in-law, 
Ernst being dubbed as grasping and ungrateful. 
Palmerston thought that a provisional arrangement 
might be made, but he was getting old and was no 
longer a match for a vigorous and strong-willed 
woman. From that time to the end of his life he 
gave way to the Queen in every dispute. 

While the matter was still pending the English 
Government approached Prince Leiningen and Prince 
Hohenlohe, both young relatives of the Queen, but 
both saw the risks as too great for the adventure. 



Knowing of these negotiations, Ernst decided defi- 
nitely against, and Victoria with some bitterness found 
closed a second opening for Alfred. William George, 
a brother of Princess Alexandra, was brave enough to 
become King of the Hellenes a title manufactured 
for the occasion; and a year later the Ionian Islands 
were ceded to Greece. 

The marriage of the Prince of Wales had been much 
discussed before the death of the Prince Consort, the 
choice being eventually between two German girls, 
Princess Alexandrina of Prussia and Princess Alex- 
andra, daughter of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein- 
Sonderburg-Glucksburg, who had by the treaty of 
1852 been made heir to the throne of Denmark. 
Queen Victoria keenly desired the first alliance, but 
Prince Albert inclined to the second, and King 
Leopold strongly upheld him; the popular belief 
being that he was moved by the entreaties of Albert 
Edward, who had seen a portrait of Alexandra, 
and declared that he would marry none but her. 
In reality both Leopold and Victoria had deeper 
reasons. 

William, king over a Prussia which resisted his 
weak but despotic rule, was planning to cut through 
his troubles by flourishing the torch of war in the 
face of Denmark through the Duchies of Schleswig- 
Holstein. The Queen, allied with Prussia by her 
daughter's marriage and moved always by her family 
emotions, wished to make it impossible to side against 
Prussia, and incidentally against the interest of that 
daughter, by forming another alliance with that 



THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 29 

country. Leopold, on the other hand, recognizing 
the danger of Prussia as a near neighbour, desired 
an English-Denmark bond which would warn Prussia 
from her intended depredations. His arguments, 
backed by Albert Edward's inclination, weighed down 
the scale, and the first hint of a decision led to a 
meeting between the young people at the Prussian 
manoeuvres in September 1861; then the Prince 
Consort died, and they did not see each other again 
for a year. 

The English papers were constantly referring to 
the engagement as an accomplished fact, causing much 
annoyance at Windsor; but in August 1862 occurred 
one of those little comedies of ceremony of which 
Victoria was so fond. 

First she went to stay at Brussels, leaving after a 
few days for her daughter Alice's home. A day or 
so later the Prince of Wales appeared in his uncle's 
capital, and the next day came Prince Christian, his 
wife and daughters. The Prince and Princess spent 
a week in each other's society, and then the Danes 
departed in one direction, while Albert Edward left 
in another. The young man went to Kranichstein 
to report progress to his mother, and was quickly 
followed by the Danish party. Then the engagement 
was announced. 

On Prussia the news fell, as Duke Ernst said, like 
a thunder-burst. The Prussian Princess had been 
slighted for a little person from little Schleswig- 
Holstein ; King William had relied on the friendship 
of Queen Victoria, and she had failed him; indeed, 



30 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the ideal of a " united Germany " could no longer be 
cherished by her ! 

In England it was very different; the people lost 
sight of the bride's German birth and saw in her only 
a Dane, whose land was nearly surrounded by the 
wild sea, and who was, or must be, akin to the English 
in life and tastes. They accepted her with all their 
hearts, and were ready to champion her through thick 
and thin. 

Sandringham House was bought from Spencer 
Cowper, at the extortionate price of 200,000, it 
having then to be rebuilt; and Marlborough House 
was redecorated and furnished, the usual discovery 
being made of paintings under a layer of stucco, in 
this case pictures of the victories of Marlborough, by 
Kneller, up the stairway. 

Young and gay as she was, when Alexandra came 
to visit the Queen the sadness of the Court oppressed 
her, and she viewed with concern the heavy crepe 
garments worn by her hostess. Taking up a bonnet 
one day which was overweighted with crepe and 
encumbered with a long crepe veil, she begged to be 
allowed to make it less heavy. The Queen hesitated, 
then consented, and the girl removed a quantity of 
material without much altering the appearance. When 
she returned it the Queen took it with a sigh and 
kissed her. That she wore the bonnet afterwards was 
a triumph for the Princess. 

The marriage treaty was signed January 15, 1863, 
at Copenhagen, and all the royal family set to work 
to provide a trousseau fit for the future Queen of 



THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 31 

England. King Leopold's present was appropriately 
a wedding gown of Brussels lace. In Copenhagen 
there were parties at which the delicate and wonderful 
clothes were shown; in England State levees and 
drawing-rooms were held by the Prince of Wales and 
the Princess Royal, or rather the Crown Princess of 
Prussia, who was credited with having helped to form 
the match, perhaps because propinquity to the Prus- 
sian Alexandrina made her prefer the other girl for 
her brother, of whom she was very fond. 

Now the Queen had determined to do everything 
just exactly as things had been done under the Prince 
Consort, and, though a tremendous crowd was ex- 
pected at these State gatherings, the order went 
forth that they should be held in the little rooms of 
St. James's Palace, and this in spite of the fact that 
when the last large sum had been spent by the public 
in renovating Buckingham Palace it had been under- 
stood that such ceremonies were to take place there. 
Punch dubbed St. James's Palace as "the house of 
detention for ladies," for many hours had to be spent 
before and after the ecstatic moment of kissing, or 
pretending to kiss, the hand of a princess. It took 
hours for the carriages to crawl to the entry, hours 
to get up the stairs and wait one's turn in an ante- 
room of small dimensions, and sometimes hours to 
get away again 

"Thus on they struggled, inch by inch, and stair 

By stair ; now losing, now a little gaining ; 
As though it were a life-and-death affair; 
As though, indeed, this courtly presentation 
Worked out their future and their whole salvation." 



32 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Victoria had made one concession to the comfort 
of her callers : she had allowed some chairs to be 
put in the room where the ladies waited, that those 
who were strong enough and quick enough to fight 
for them might rest. Others stood until their turns 
came, and then each lady, summoning with difficulty 
a pleasant expression to her jaded face, made her 
graceful curtsey. 

The coming away was more terrible than the going, 
for then the jamming was remorseless and inevitable, 
the waiting for the carriages being in a long, narrow 
corridor, something like a tunnel, in which there was 
no hope of movement. Angry and impatient, some 
dame would hear the official announcing her carriage, 
and be entirely unable to get near the' door even by 
the most strenuous fighting. So the vehicle would 
move on, and she would have to wait while it made 
the whole round again. Pretty girls would emerge at 
last with their skirts in rags, a portly duchess would 
beg the closely wedged bystanders "just to stoop and 
look for my diamond bracelet," worth perhaps the 
purchase money of a large estate ; and every one would 
be crying 

" Oh, what a shame it is ! Surely the Queen cannot 
know what goes on ? " 

No cup of tea or refreshment of any kind was 
offered to the victims of this atrociously bad manage- 
ment, and a woman fainting from exhaustion was a 
recurring episode, regarded by all officials with perfect 
calmness. 

Well might indignant correspondents write to the 



THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 33 

papers and suggest that if people were worthy of 
being received at Court they were worthy to enter the 
Queen's own spacious house, and remind those respon- 
sible of the broken faith over Buckingham Palace. 

The Prince's levee in March was as bad as the 
Princess's drawing-room, more than two thousand 
men attending it. 

"Garments were cleft of them, 
Horsehair was reft of them, 
What pen can write of them? 
How at the sight of them 

Gents-at-arms wondered. 
As to the Presence there, 
Draggled and damaged men 
Rushed, crushed and thrust along, 

All that was left of them ; 
First the two thousand, 

Then the seven hundred." 

There was one presentation made at this levee of 
which the newspapers said : " No event for some years 
past has excited so much indignation." The Duke 
of Wellington had brought with him a gentleman, 
rich, well bred, and one of the principal guarantors 
to the Commissioners of the Exhibition of 1862. As 
the crowd fought its way up the stairs the stranger 
stumbled against Justice Baron Pollock, who had 
an extraordinary memory for faces. The Baron told 
what he remembered to some official, but the presenta- 
tion had taken place and the levee was over. The 
gentleman in question had many years before made 
a mistake upon a cheque, and had been sentenced to 
ten years' imprisonment. He was what was known 
as "one of Jebb's pet lambs"; that is to say, he had 



34 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

come under the humane prison reformatory ideas of 
Sir Joshua Jebb, and so had been able honourably to 
reinstate himself in the commercial world. But his 
ambition flew too high : wishing to make friends with 
royalty, he found himself publicly advertised as unfit 
for that honour. 

The storm of indignation which shook the papers 
over the unbearable conditions of royal receptions 
made no impression upon the Queen, and the girlish 
Alexandra held a Court for Victoria in the following 
May, at which 2,200 people attended, and confusion 
was worse confounded. To add to the faintings, 
losses and torn rags, empty carriages got mixed up 
with full ones, so the presentations lasted until six 
o'clock, and even the royal hosts were exhausted. As 
Henry Greville remarked : " What was never done 
before, they retired for a short time to refresh and 
repose themselves." The poor guests had no chance 
of that relief, however. 

It was hoped that Queen Victoria would make the 
wedding the occasion for emerging from her seclusion, 
and that she would honour the bridal pair by attend- 
ing as a queen. This hope was summarily destroyed, 
and so much stress was laid upon the intention of 
holding a quiet wedding that Punch declared that the 
ceremony would take place in an obscure Berkshire 
village, noted only for its old castle and non-sanitary 
arrangements, and suggested that the secrecy of the 
proceedings should be carried out to the utmost, the 
only public intimation being in the first column of 
The Times 






THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 35 



On the 1 3th inst., at Windsor, by Dr. Longley, 
assisted by Dr. Thomson, Albert Edward England, 
K.G., to Alexandra Denmark. No cards." 

The settlements had been granted without much 
parliamentary bickering, being ,40,000 to the Prince 
and ,10,000 to the Princess, which, with ,60,000 from 
the Duchy of Cornwall, was thought to be sufficient. 

The entry of the young Princess into England and 
her progress through London must have been one of 
the most stirring events of her life ; pleasure was there 
certainly, but pleasure pointed by alarm is unforget- 
table. At Gravesend half London seemed to be float- 
ing in gaily decorated craft to welcome her, and from 
there to the Bricklayers' Arms everything, even the 
haystacks and hedges, blushed with royal bunting; 
but the drive thence to Paddington, that was abso- 
lutely thrilling ! 

Queen Victoria had made all arrangements ; she 
was always particular in her instructions about any 
great function. The carriages sent to meet the 
Princess, who was to drive through London before 
the eyes of all England, were thus described by Lord 
Malmesbury in his Memoirs 

" I was never more surprised and disappointed. . . . 
The carriages looked old and shabby and the horses 
very poor, with no trappings, not even rosettes, and 
no outriders. In short, the shabbiness of the whole 
cortege was beyond anything one could imagine, every 
one asking, ' Who is the Master of the Horse ? ' 

Another order given was that the carriages should 
trot, and that, though the way lay through the city, 



36 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the City Fathers should take no part in the welcoming, 
because their heavy State carriages would have to go 
at a walk. It is really difficult not to wonder whether 
the latter order was not issued that the gorgeous city 
coaches should not contrast too luxuriously with the 
humbler royal equipages. But such a loud outcry was 
made over the " trotting " order that it was rescinded, 
and the Lord Mayor and Aldermen were allowed to 
escort the Princess from London Bridge to Temple 
Bar, the Duke of Buccleugh, Lord High Steward of 
Westminster, and the Dean and Chapter heading the 
procession from Temple Bar to Hyde Park Corner. 

The Lord Mayor, however, used his opportunity 
with too much pride, by refusing all help, either from 
the military or the Force, and relied entirely upon his 
own five hundred police managing the crowd. But 
London Bridge and the streets were absolutely 
blocked ; the people pressed against the horses, caught 
hold of the sides of the carriages, and in a struggling, 
shouting turmoil, with waving hands and arms and 
open throats, shifting and clinging like figures in a 
nightmare, they strove and contended to hold place 
and get nearest to the carriage which held the Princess. 

This extended to beyond the Mansion House the 
carriages crawling along inch by inch where the scene 
was terrible. Between the solid walls of people no 
exit could be found; fainting women and boys were 
with difficulty saved from being trampled on; a dead 
or dying baby was held up over the crowd, and a 
woman was seen to throw a child into one of the 
carriages to save its life. 



THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 37 

When turning the corner of the Mansion House, 
the Princess's carriage swayed beneath the pressure 
and she put out her hand. It was at once grasped by 
some one in the crowd. An old Irishwoman clutched 
the side of the carriage, and Alexandra said 

" Oh, I hope you won't be hurt ! " Upon which the 
woman responded, " God bless you, my darling ! " 

The Princess, feeling the benison to be of good 
omen, replied, " Thank you, thank you ! " 

The equerries around the carriage showed great 
good humour, and effectually persuaded the multitude 
to give way foot by foot before the horses, Lord Alfred 
Paget betraying a skill in chaffing which made every 
one who heard him his friend. 

From Chancery Lane the route was better kept. At 
Cambridge House in Piccadilly the royal carriage 
came to a halt, for upon the balcony stood the veteran 
Lord Palmerston and his wife, with whom salutations 
were exchanged. 

At Slough, whence the royal party drove to 
Windsor, the horses became rebellious; the leaders 
of the first carriage jibbed, those of the second turned 
round upon the wheelers, and the harness got en- 
tangled, which created a scene of great confusion. 
However, the wise man has said that all's well that 
ends well, and the little Princess did get to Windsor 
that night, and had three days in which to rest for 
her very sumptuous wedding, which " was so grand as 
to be quite overpowering," judged the courtier Lord 
Malmesbury. 

The brilliant show may be imagined; every one 



38 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

agreed that the bride was extraordinarily beautiful, 
but Lord Ronald Gower gave the palm to another : 
' The finest part of the ceremonial as regards the 
persons present was the magnificent appearance and 
presence of Princess Mary [of Cambridge] as she 
seemed to sail up the nave of this gorgeous chapel. 
She looked the very embodiment of earthly magnifi- 
cence." Princess Mary, still unwed at thirty, though 
many had wanted her ! But there seemed always 
some reason, State or otherwise, why the suitors, great 
and little, should one after the other be discarded. 

Above the brilliant scene, in a windowed box, sat 
the Queen, almost hidden in cre-pe; one apart; feel- 
ing gladness for these young people, yet streaming 
with tears for thinking of her own wedding day. Well, 
it was the Victorian way, and there's no more to be 
said. 

On nearing the altar the Princess curtseyed deeply 
to the Queen, and her maids, unprepared for this, 
thought they ought to kneel; then, finding their mis- 
take, suddenly straightened themselves, while the 
Prince stood irresolute, and Jenny Lind's sweet voice 
flooded the building to an accompaniment composed by 
Prince Albert. Meanwhile the Queen's first grandson, 
the amiable little Prince William of Prussia, now the 
most dishonoured man in the world, was biting the 
bare Highland legs of his two uncles, Arthur and 
Leopold, between whom he stood, and who were 
responsible for his quiet and decorous behaviour. 

After six-and-twenty royal or imperial hands had 
signed the register, and after the hundredweight of 



THE QUEEN'S CHILDREN 39 

cake had been cut and all was over, the gallant com- 
pany started back to London. The Windsor station- 
master had forgotten to keep the platforms clear, and 
had also not troubled to suit the train accommodation 
to the company. So great ladies and courtly gentle- 
men stepped from the castle carriages into the midst 
of a crowd of sightseers, plentifully besprinkled by 
roughs and thieves. Among the results recorded I 
find Lady Westminster, wearing half a million pounds' 
worth of diamonds, saving her property by scram- 
bling into a third-class carriage, the venerable Lady 
Palmerston hunting vainly for a seat, and at last 
finding one unoccupied in the third class, and Count 
Lavradio complaining that his diamond star had been 
torn from his chest. 

For a week afterwards the papers were inundated 
with letters from indignant Englishmen, who com- 
plained that Queen Victoria had failed to honour 
either the Princess or the nation in allowing shabby 
carriages to form part of a great London procession. 
Said one such in The Times : " Our Queen's equip- 
ages have not of late years been remarkable either 
for their beauty or for the taste and finish with which 
they are turned out, and certainly the servants, car- 
riages and cattle selected to convey the Danish 
Princess through joyful London attired in its holiday 
clothing must have been the very dregs of that 
singularly ill-appointed establishment known as the 
Royal Mews of Pimlico." 

The popular belief was that the impoliteness shown 
was the result of a dispute between the Queen and 



her advisers twenty-three years earlier. " Etiquette 
forbids," said the Ministers, "that a young prince 
should use the Queen's State carriage before he 
becomes her husband, or is in any way connected with 
the State." Victoria was said to have remembered 
this, and would allow no greater distinction to be 
shown to her new prospective daughter-in-law than 
had been shown to her own beloved; indeed, not so 
much, as in her youthful days the Queen's stables 
were excellently appointed. 



CHAPTER IV 

A STRONG PRUSSIA 

"Lorenzo. A prince above all things must seem devout; but 
there is nothing- so dangerous to his state as to regard his 
promise or his oath. 

" Alphonsus. Tush, fear not me, my promises are sound, 

But he that trusts them shall be sure to fail." 
George Chapman: 

'Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany.' 

" I know that our dear angel Albert always regarded a strong 
Prussia as a necessity, for which, therefore, it is a sacred duty 
for me to work." Queen Victoria in a letter to Ernst of Saxe- 
Coburg. 

ONE of the most remarkable sentiments held by 
Queen Victoria was her affection for Germany in 
general and Prussia in particular, she regarding these 
countries as a sacred care bequeathed to her by her 
beloved prince, and whenever she mentioned her 
desire for " a strong Prussia," she would add a pious 
reference to the departed Albert. 

Frederick William IV, the Prussian king who was 
set aside in 1857 as insane, had stood sponsor for 
Victoria's eldest son; his brother William, when 
Regent, married his son William Frederick to 
Victoria's eldest daughter, and he visjted England 
many times. But the friendship of the sovereigns 
did not mean the friendship of the public, nor did it 
include political amity. Constant annoyance was felt 

41 



42 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in Berlin over the long letters from the Prince Consort 
advising the King how to rearrange his form of govern- 
ment, letters often sent through Baron Stockmar; 
indeed, the perusal of a chapter or so of that period 
of The Life of the Prince Consort will show what a 
passion Albert had for interfering in other people's 
concerns. 

In Berlin this was violently resented, especially 
when William became Regent. It was said that 
England had dared to interfere with Prussian politics 
and that Stockmar had come over the Channel with 
the new " Prussian Ministry all cut and dried in his 
pocket." From this time Prussian outbursts against 
England became a "hardy annual," the anger being 
mainly directed against Albert, and after his death 
against British influence, "the scheming Queen," and 
the " English " Crown Princess. Victoria never did 
make concessions to public opinion, and consistently 
under-rated the value of the sentiments of a people; 
so this resentment made no impression on her feeling 
for Germany, and she still worked for Albert's ideal 
of a " strong Prussia " and a " united Germany." 

When William was crowned King of Prussia at 
Konigsburg only the second Prussian king who went 
through the coronation ceremony he boldly asserted 
that the Prussian kings "received their crown from 
God," a sentiment with which Victoria entirely agreed. 
As a writer in The Quarterly Review for April 1901 
stated, though she "probably would not have signed 
a paper saying she believed in the divine right of 
kings, in her heart she never questioned that she was 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 43 

the anointed of the Lord." That the first King of 
Prussia had bought his crown one hundred and sixty 
years earlier from the Emperor of Germany did not 
seem to affect the claim made by the new monarch at 
all, and when his bombastic utterances were strongly 
commented upon in the English Press, a very furore 
of retort arose in Berlin, England being roundly in- 
vited to attend to her own affairs and leave Prussia 
alone. The Queen again sympathized, feeling very 
angry with The Times and other censorious journals. 

In 1862 William had so much trouble with his 
Parliament and his people that he had decided to 
abdicate, in spite of his divine right, and had already 
written out the deed of abdication when Bismarck 
came to his aid, and still further frightened him by 
his drastic views and deeds. 

" I can perfectly well see what the end will be," he 
said, after one of Bismarck's addresses in the Land- 
stag. " Over there in front of the Opera House, under 
my windows, they will cut off your head, and mine a 
little later," for he was obsessed by the fate of 
Charles I and Strafford. But his Minister laughed 
and went on his victorious way, and William became 
his grateful, if sometimes rebellious, servant. 

With Bismarck the occasional anger of Prussia 
became a settled jealousy against England, and though 
for the sake of Albert's idea of a strong Prussia, 
Victoria always worked for Bismarck's policy, she had 
a great dislike for the man, a dislike which he recipro- 
cated fully in a mean and jealous way, condescending 
to coarse abuse of the Queen in conversation with 



44 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

his entourage, and imputing evil and cunning reasons 
for all that she did. This dislike he extended in 
double strength to the Crown Princess, and all through 
his life he did his utmost to foster adverse criticism 
of her in Germany. He claimed in the name of the 
King extraordinary rights over her household, and 
always had his spies placed in official positions about 
her. 

In 1864 there was a family quarrel between the two 
Courts. Count Philip Eulenburg, a young sub- 
lieutenant at Bonn, whose brother later became, in 
Bismarck's pay, master of the Crown Princess's 
Household, was unintentionally jostled in the street 
by a portly stranger ; Eulenburg replied with foul and 
insulting language and, being answered in kind, drew 
his sword and cut the man down, he being so badly 
injured that he died in the hospital. He was a 
Frenchman named Ott, a chef to Victoria, and then 
in Germany in attendance on the Duke of Edinburgh. 
The Queen and her son were very indignant, and 
acrimonious discussions took place between England, 
France and Germany, which lasted for months, Eulen- 
burg in the end being sentenced to pay heavy damages 
to Ott's widow and undergo a year's imprisonment in 
a fortress. 

This was, however, but a ripple on the surface of 
the Queen's enduring love for Germany, and she took 
her stand as a buffer between her people and the 
aggressive German Government; she eagerly married 
her children to Germans, asking nothing in return in 
wealth or position, nothing, in fact, but the bridegroom 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 45 

and his nationality, but in these arrangements she did 
occasionally allow herself the gratification of spiting 
the Chancellor, Bismarck. 

Queen Victoria has been regarded as a great states- 
man, but she did not show that quality in her dealings 
with Prussia; for during the first ten years of her 
widowhood Prussia put a ring of blood and fire round 
Germany; Poland, Denmark, Austria and France 
being successively attacked and more or less ruined. 
Englishmen had deeply desired to help some of these 
weaker countries, but Victoria fought every one her 
people, her Government, the Opposition, her family, 
in her determination to let a strong Prussia and a 
united Germany arise. She consulted, not the safety 
of Europe or of England, not the balance of European 
power, then or in the future, but what she knew to have 
been the ideals of the Prince Consort. She had a 
bad time with her people, but she would have endured 
anything rather than have put out a finger against that 
German ideal by assisting one of the victims. She 
seemed honestly to endorse the sarcastic words of 
Punch 

" May Heaven further walk over Prussia and bless her, 
And still of her neighbours' possessions possess her." 

In July 1862 Bismarck was in London, and he 
outlined his future policy before Disraeli over the 
dining-table of Baron Brunow, saying 

!< When I take over the Prussian Government " 
(which he did two months later) " my first care will be 
to reorganize the army, with or without the Landstag. 
As soon as the army is sufficiently strong I shall seize 



46 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a pretext to declare war on Austria, dissolve the Diet, 
reduce the small states and give Germany national 
unity under Prussia. I have come here to tell this to 
the Ministers of the Queen." 

It was a policy of which, except probably for the 
attack on Austria, Victoria approved, and which she 
helped Bismarck to carry out by an attitude of strict 
non-interference. 

Bismarck, regarded as so " great," did more evil than 
good; he made Prussia physically, but he destroyed 
her soul. He derided the arts, debased the Press, 
destroyed the Parliament, and tore up " scraps of 
paper " at will. He fostered the seeds of mental and 
moral degradation, indigenous in the Prussian, the 
fruit of which to-day has made of all Germany an 
outcast among the nations, a thing so unpardonable 
that the whole world is aghast at the sight. 

Bismarck's quarrel with Austria was that she had 
recently taken the initiative in calling together repre- 
sentatives of all the States to consider a plan for a 
united Germany, and this naturally pointed to the 
predominance of Austria. Of all the kingdoms and 
states Prussia alone stood aside from the great con- 
ference called at Frankfort. King William was very 
grieved over this, for he wanted to take part, and saw 
himself at the head of affairs there. The Dowager 
Queen, Queen Augusta and the Crown Princess all 
urged him to attend, and the King of Saxony visited 
him to make a personal appeal, with the result that 
William promised to go, and to send a signed letter 
to that effect. As soon as his visitor had departed, 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 47 

however, Bismarck entered, and had a long interview 
with his king, at the end of which, to quote his own 
words 

" I only succeeded with the utmost difficulty in 
preventing him [writing the letter]; I literally hung 
on to his coat tails. . . . His Majesty lay on the sofa 
and had an attack of hysterical weeping, and when at 
length I had succeeded in wringing from him the letter 
of refusal, I was myself so weak and exhausted I could 
scarcely stand." 

Having got this letter, Bismarck sent for a regiment 
to guard the palace and so prevent any one else from 
having access to his " master." 

This abstention of Prussia was a great disappoint- 
ment and cause of anxiety to Queen Victoria, who 
went to Coburg that she might be nearer the scene of 
action, and there she invited both the Emperor of 
Austria and the King of Prussia to meet her, hoping 
to induce Prussia to join the Conference. She could 
not understand its isolated position, and saw it becom- 
ing an Esau among the nations; reprobated as it was 
by all because of its dastardly deed during the Polish 
rising, when it had deliberately given permission to 
the Russians to pursue Polish rebels through Prussian 
territory. From Coburg Victoria wrote to Duke Ernst, 
then at Frankfort 

" I must believe that Prussia's position is growing 
worse and worse, and I am afraid she will have few 
voices in the Assembly of Sovereigns to speak in her 
interest. All the more would I beg you, as much as 
lies in your power, to prevent a weakening of Prussia, 






48 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

which not only my feeling resists on account of the 
future of our children but which would surely also 
be contrary to the interests of Germany; and I know 
that our dear angel Albert always regarded a strong 
Prussia as a necessity, for which, therefore, it is a 
sacred duty for me to work." 

King William, attended by Bismarck, went to see 
his royal cousin at Coburg. Bismarck was not ad- 
mitted to the interview, but his influence was on the 
King ; and when it was over the Queen was extremely 
depressed, for William had told her nothing of 
Prussia's hopes and plans. After the Conference her 
meeting with the Emperor of Austria took place at 
Castle Ehrenburg, and of this interview Duke Ernst 
has left us a description. 

At the foot of the staircase stood the Queen with 
her children on either side Victoria, Alice, Helena, 
Alfred, Leopold and Beatrice, while behind her stood 
her Ministers and officers of State. Francis Joseph 
entered the great hall with his suite, and the Queen 
kissed him on both cheeks and introduced her children. 
At two o'clock, after luncheon, Victoria invited him 
to an interview at which Ernst formed a third. He 
tells us that the Queen " maintained the usual pleasant 
level of her character," that she first complimented 
Francis Joseph on the way in which he had conducted 
the Conference, and said that she had no intention of 
meddling with high diplomacy, but would make her 
appeal on purely personal grounds. 

" She then remarked that it was not her business to 
enter into the actual political questions pending in 



49 

Germany, but she had a personal request at heart. 
Her maternal anxiety for her children rendered it a 
matter of heart with her to recommend them to the 
Emperor. Whatever might be the actual difference 
between the views and policy of Prussia and Austria, 
she at all events hoped one thing, that the Emperor 
would never let the position and the rights of her dear 
children in Berlin be prejudiced. 

' The Emperor was visibly surprised at this address. 
He replied in generally complimentary terms,, but 
did not touch on the actual political question. If he 
left Coburg satisfied, that may be partly due to the 
effect of his having found, in this meeting with the 
Queen of England, a proof of how greatly his Frank- 
fort expedition had contributed to raise his prestige 
with non-German monarchs." 

To King Leopold Ernst wrote 

' The Emperor's interview with Victoria has passed 
off very well. It was an exalting scene, without 
stiffness." 

This was the interview which gained for Queen 
Victoria her first definite reputation as a statesman ! 
No one then knew what had passed at these meetings, 
but it was believed that her thoughts were upon 
weighty European affairs; and all the time she was 
merely begging first one king and then another to be 
kind to her children who were settled in antagonistic 
parts of Germany. Bismarck must have been as much 
surprised as amused. 

As has been said, Prussia had, in its anxiety for 
Russian friendship, played a dishonourable part to- 



50 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

wards the Poles, and had therefore been subjected to 
strong criticism in the English Press; but Prussia 
intended to go further. Her aim was to beat Austria 
down from her pre-eminence in Europe and to seize 
Schleswig-Holstein, but she went warily to work. 

Alexandra's father, as Christian IX, had succeeded 
to the Crown of Denmark in accordance with the treaty 
of 1852, but Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonder- 
burg-Augustenburg [what terrible titles !], who thought 
he had a claim upon the Danish throne in virtue of his 
mother having been a Danish princess, demanded the 
kingdom, treaty or no treaty, and in spite of the fact 
that his father had taken a large sum of money to 
settle this claim. The great Diet of German States 
backed him up, among them being Hanover, Saxony 
and Coburg. 

This was Bismarck's opportunity, and he called 
upon Austria as the chief German power, and as once 
the possessor of Schleswig, to help him in upholding 
the treaty. It was so honest and simple that it 
deceived Victoria, but it deceived no one else, least 
of all Denmark, who knew the ways of Prussia, and 
she turned to England in her trouble, relying upon 
the aid which had been virtually promised during 
the last eleven years. Palmerston, Granville and ! 
Russell were prepared to give it, the first saying in 
the House in July 1863 

" We are convinced I am convinced, at least that 
if any violent attempt were made to overthrow the 
rights and interfere with the independence of Den- 
mark, those who made the attempt would find in the 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 51 

result that it would not be Denmark alone with which 
they would have to contend." 

Every party, except the peace-at-any-price party, 
was with him ; and the Danes, counting on us, prepared 
to defend themselves. 

The question was a three-sided one, and like Chris- 
tianity it divided families and friends. On one side 
of the triangle were the Ministry, the majority of 
the Opposition, the Prince and Princess of Wales 
and the people of England, all for Denmark. On 
the second, upholding Frederick of Augustenburg, 
were most of the German states, the Crown Prince and 
Princess of Prussia in spite of Bismarck Alice and 
Louis of Hesse and Ernst of Coburg. The third 
party consisted of Prussia and Austria, and in con- 
sonance with the Prince Consort's desire for a strong 
Prussia, Queen Victoria refused to act in any way 
which was against the interest of this third party. 
She was constantly confronted by the white, anxious 
face of Alexandra, and guarded herself by peremp- 
torily refusing to listen to any word about Denmark 
from the Prince of Wales. Her daughter Victoria 
urged the claims of the Augustenburger with clever- 
ness and asperity. Princess Alice did the same thing 
with gentle insistence. In the autumn, when the 
Crown Prince and Princess were staying at Windsor, 
with the intention of improving their kindly love for 
their new sister-in-law, the triangular discussions be- 
came so bitter that at last Victoria forbade the mention 
of the subject altogether, a course which did not tend 
to draw the sisters-in-law together. 



52 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Duke Ernst wrote to the Queen, urging her to take 
some action on his side, and she wrote him a long 
letter, from which the following is a paragraph 

' You seem quite to overlook the fact that England 
is bound by the treaty of 1852, and, greatly as I may 
deplore the manner in which that treaty was con- 
cluded, the Government here has no other choice but 
to adhere to it. Our beloved Albert could not have 
acted otherwise." 

The English Cabinet agreed upon a dispatch to be 
sent to Austria and Prussia, declaring that the Govern- 
ment would be forced to take a hostile attitude if 
Schleswig-Holstein were invaded. The Queen ener- 
getically opposed its being sent, and Lord John 
Russell resigned. ' The Queen will not hear of going 
to war with Germany," noted Lord Malmesbury in 
his diary, and he added that the country and the 
Government would like to fight for the Danes, " but 
found great difficulty in the opposition of the Queen." 

Victoria sent for the leader of the Opposition, Lord 
Derby, when she found that not only the Liberals 
under Palmerston, but the great body of the Tories 
were in belligerent mood, and made him promise that, 
no matter what his party wanted, he would resist every 
idea of war. 

When the address from the Throne was drawn up 
in 1864, Lord Palmerston's definite Danish pronounce- 
ment produced disagreement in the Cabinet, so a 
second and milder speech was prepared and sent to 
the Queen; this she promptly returned as impossible, 
and it was not until the evening before the opening 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 53 

of Parliament that she gave her assent to what was 
publicly regarded as the most futile speech which had 
ever emanated from a responsible ruler. The Prince 
of Wales was present the next day to listen to a state- 
ment of which the most important item was a 
paragraph of flowery congratulation upon the birth 
of his first son, and the next one of adulation of his 
mother 

" Her Majesty is honoured and admired not only in 
Europe, but throughout the world; her virtues live 
again in her children, and all their Lordships fondly 
hope that the infant Prince, who was born under these 
auspices and brought up under these happy influences, 
will at some future day reign over this realm with the 
same brilliant qualities which have adorned the reign 
of her present Majesty." 

To the Commons the address began with 

' Three years ago we had to lament the loss of a 
great and good prince, a loss from which her Majesty 
has not yet recovered, and from which we are afraid 
she never will recover." 

It is almost unbelievable that in a time of such 
public excitement the Queen could have sanctioned 
such puerilities, and that in this speech Poland, then 
being slowly martyred, was not mentioned, the war 
in America received no word, nor did the English 
soldiers fighting in China. As to Denmark, the House 
was simply reminded that by the treaty the powers 
had agreed that no territory should be filched from 
Denmark; but another clause, which showed that 
each Power had individually bound itself to protect 



54 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Denmark, was ignored. In the discussion Lord Derby 
hoped paradoxically that we were not committed to a 
disastrous war with Germany nor to the betrayal of 
Denmark, which had put her trust in us. 

Well might the Austrian ambassador, Count 
Vitzthum, say joyfully 

' The victory of the peace party is a victory of the 
Queen maligned, insulted and reproached with Ger- 
man sympathies. Her Majesty has checkmated the 
dictatorship of her Prime Minister, and beaten him 
three times over in his own Cabinet on a question of 
war or peace. The Queen has recognized the true 
interests and true wishes of her people, and not allowed 
herself to be misled by the gossip of the drawing- 
room or the declamation of the daily press." 

And well might the Americans say when they were 
pressing their claims for the roving acts of the 
Alabama at the Geneva Conference, that England's 
conduct over the Danish war proved that England 
would never fight again. 

The Danes fought like heroes, but it was a fore- 
gone conclusion that alone they must be beaten. 
Prussia was then as Prussia is to-day, though less 
brutal. She bombarded unfortified towns 

"Danish homes our ordnance shattered, 
Dashed out Danish women's brains, 
Danish children's bodies shattered, 
Smashed both great and little Danes." 

In a duet which Punch gave between William and 
Francis Joseph occurred these lines, accentuating the 
blatant Prussian piety so familiar to us to-day 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 55 

" William. And we smashed the young fry where we pitched 

the live shell ; 

So I turn up my eyes and go down on my knees, 
And give thanks that I'm able to do as I please. 

"Francis Joseph. We'll work our omnipotent will, 

We'll torture and burn and slay. 
Let but England and France keep still, 
And a fig for what they say." 

Palmerston, his force of character relaxed by age, 
had come to heel, and there was little to be feared 
from him, but the satisfaction the Queen felt in this 
was dispelled by the fact that now the Opposition was 
crying out against ignoble inaction. Lord Derby's 
sympathies were with his party, and he was on the 
point of yielding when he was again summoned to 
Windsor and sharply reminded of his promise. But 
Disraeli was left, and he was preparing a vote of 
censure on the Government's foreign policy. 

The usual course was being followed of summoning 
a Conference in London of all concerned, except 
Schleswig-Holstein, to see if peace could not be 
arranged, and a month's truce was proclaimed. 
Bismarck's representative arrived, and so delayed 
matters, ten days late, that affairs might be left in 
a favourable position for Prussia when hostilities 
recommenced. The Conference failed, as it was bound 
to do, and Victoria told Palmerston that she would 
never consent to England^ s participation if the war 
continued, instructing him at the same time to dissolve 
Parliament if the vote of censure was carried ; so says 
Duke Ernst in his memoirs. 

Queen Victoria's popularity had decreased when she 



56 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

refused to join in any attempt to stop the monstrous 
punishments dealt out to the Poles by Russia Prince 
Albert had always condemned the Poles and now 
over Denmark it fell to zero. Exchanging letters 
with Duke Ernst over the Conference, she wrote of 
loving Germany with all her heart, " especially our 
part/' and of having done all she could for peace. 
" I have been attacked here what was still wanting 
in my sad position on account of my German sympa- 
thies, and a few silly people have been giving out that 
I have been hindering the Government in its actions. 
... I would most earnestly request you not to men- 
tion me, nor lay any stress on the little merit I have 
had, as it might greatly aggravate my position, difficult 
and painful as it already is." 

Disraeli's vote of censure was a crushing attack 
upon the policy which the Queen had imposed upon 
Palmerston and which Palmerston had allowed her 
to impose. " Within twelve months we have been 
twice repulsed at St. Petersburg. We have menaced 
Austria, and Austria has allowed our menaces to pass 
her like the wind. We have threatened Prussia, and 
Prussia has defied us. Our objurgations have rattled 
over the head of the German Diet, and the German 
Diet has treated them with contempt. During the last 
few months there is scarcely a form of diplomatic in- 
terference which has not been suggested or adopted. 
. . . Couriers from the Queen have been scouring 
Europe with the exuberant futility of abortive projects. 
. . . My policy is the honour of England and the peace 
of Europe, and the noble lord has betrayed both." 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 57 

In a flash of prescience Disraeli said, " If there is a 
cordial alliance between England and France war is 
most difficult ; but if there is a thorough understanding 
between England, France and Russia war is impos- 
sible." It might have been true then, but to-day the 
" strong Prussia " has grown so strong that the three 
allies have to fight it side by side. 

Palmerston was only saved from defeat by Bright 
and his little peace party. 

It has so often been stated that Queen Victoria was 
a true constitutional sovereign, that her power over 
State affairs was purely nominal, and that she abided 
most loyally by the decisions of her Ministers, that 
many people have believed it. No greater mistake 
concerning the Queen was ever made. She considered 
it her duty to express her opinion on every subject, and 
as far as was consistent with safety to impose her will 
upon her Ministers. In extreme cases she would give 
way and sanction something which she disliked, but 
this was only done to avoid some dangerous crisis, the 
two most notable incidents being the passing of the 
Irish Church Bill and the abolition of purchase of 
commissions in the army. In these Victoria did what 
Gladstone wanted, not that she agreed with him or 
because she thought it her duty to be loyal to the 
Government, but because she desired to save the 
House of Lords from the threatened effect of their 
own uncompromising opposition. 

When the Danes were finally beaten the aggressors 
agreed that six years were to be allowed to the in- 
habitants of the two duchies in which they might 



58 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

decide whether they would choose to belong to Den- 
mark or Prussia and Austria. This was Bismarck's 
way of leaving the question open and so preventing 
Austria from taking possession of any part of the 
land, the whole of which he intended for himself. In 
a year and a half his hunger for possession grew 
ravenous. He was satisfied that there was nothing to 
fear from an Anglo-French alliance, that, as some 
one has put it 

" However Palmerston might bark, Queen Victoria 
would never allow him to bite a Hohenzollern." 

So he followed the usual Prussian course, massed 
troops on some one else's territory in this case, Hesse- 
Cassel, as a good jumping-off point, and when Austria, 
in alarm, brought her troops to defend her borderland 
he shouted aloud to all Europe that Austria was 
treacherously mobilizing her army and starting a war. 
Hesse-Cassel, indignant, sided with Austria, and when 
that country was defeated at the end of six weeks, 
was promptly swallowed by Prussia, as were Schleswig- 
Holstein, Hanover, part of Hesse-Darmstadt, and 
other small states. 

The Queen had watched this attack upon Austria 
with grief, and had recognized that there was, after 
all, something of the wolf in Prussia. She wrote to 
Lord Granville, " Prussia should at least be made 
aware of what she and her Government and every 
honest man in Europe must think of the gross and 
unblushing violation of every assurance and pledge 
that she had given which Prussia has been guilty of." 

But Victoria did not realize that she had, by her 



A STRONG PRUSSIA 59 

abstention from a just course, put into Prussia's hands 
a powerful weapon against her own country; that she 
had given it possession of that seaboard for which it 
longed, and that henceforth its navy, helped later by 
another present from her, was to grow until it was 
thought strong enough to menace England. 

If she deprecated the methods of Prussia, the results 
were not altogether disagreeable. Prussia was grow- 
ing strong, and as a French writer, M. Abel Chevalley, 
says, "the progress towards the unity of Germany 
enchanted her ! She saw her daughter an empress 
in the future." 

Austria had once been the Imperial head of Ger- 
many, henceforth the Emperor knew himself to be 
second to the family of Hohenzollern, which in earlier 
years had felt distinguished by being the cupbearers 
to the Hapsburgs. The blind King of Hanover and 
his son were sent wandering, and Victoria telegraphed 
to Duke Ernst, " Thank God, you are safe. It is too 
dreadful. Where is the poor King and his son ? " 
To which she received answer that the King and his 
son had passed through Gotha early that morning in 
the best of health. 



CHAPTER V 

FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES 

" Really I do not think it possible for any one in the world to 
be happier or as happy as I am. He is an Angel, and his kind- 
ness and affection for me is really touching. To look in those 
dear eyes, and that dear, sunny face, is enough to make me 
adore him." Queen Victoria on her marriage. 

" I could hardly bring myself to believe that this was really 
death, that which I had so often shuddered at and felt afraid of; 
there was nothing there dreadful or appalling, only a heavenly 
calm and peace." Crown Princess on the death of the King of 
Prussia. 

IF Queen Victoria had much anxiety to endure in 
the 'sixties through mistaken foreign policy and a 
strongly stirred people, she yet enjoyed many of those 
domestic pleasures which deal with life in its most 
primitive aspect. There were grandchildren to wel- 
come into the world, brides to help into partnership 
though that word would but ill express Victoria's idea 
of the marriage state and deaths to call forth her 
tears and sympathy. 

In August 1865 the Queen went again to Coburg, 
with her three youngest daughters and Prince Leopold, 
that they might be present at the unveiling of a bronze 
statue to the Prince Consort in the square of his native 
town. 

Princess Helena was then nineteen, and either from 

60 



FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES 61 

the usual cause of mutual attraction or through 
maternal policy she became engaged to Prince Chris- 
tian of, Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, 
brother to the husband of her Majesty's niece, Princess 
Adelaide of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (the daughter of 
Princess Feodore, half-sister to the Queen). 

There are those who have said that this Prince 
Christian was brother to "the Augustenburger " who 
had claimed the crown of Denmark, and also that the 
Queen arranged the marriage that she might not only 
placate both Denmark and the little German states, 
but give at least one little blow back at Bismarck, by 
showing compensation to the family he had cheated. 
However, all this was wrong. The Augustenburger 
renounced his rights to his title in 1864, taking instead 
that of Count de Noer, and dying the following year; 
I have not discovered that he had a brother. His 
successor, who took all his long row of names, was 
the husband of Princess Adelaide. Thus this mar- 
riage seems to have been arranged in an ordinary 
way, with no underlying policy of generosity or spite. 

Prince Christian was accredited with a wife, but as 
she was not of royal birth, royalty would have con- 
sidered this no bar to a second marriage with a young 
girl. How easy is royal morality, especially that which 
is made in Germany ! Nearly all the German prince- 
lings of that date appear to have made morganatic 
unions at least once in their lives, which they gaily 
put aside as soon as a better match offered. 

The Prince had neither lands nor money, but Queen 
Victoria was ready to supply all that he needed; so 



62 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

he resigned his position as an officer in the Prussian 
army, and was dowered by his mamma-in-law with 
100,000 and a house at Frogmore. When the wed- 
ding took place it was announced that " none of Prince 
Christian's male relatives were able to attend," and 
Mr. Punch wickedly suggested that 

" Considering what the bride's brother had done 
for Mr. Poole [the great tailor] we should have thought 
that he might have made this possible, even at three 

months " A remark which shows how extremely 

impecunious the family was believed to be. 

Victoria, however, was determined that full honour 
should be given to Prince Christian in England, and 
when he approached our shores was peculiarly insistent 
upon the use of his title of Serene Highness. Thus 
the Court Circular announced 

" H.S.H. arrived in London attended by ; 

H.S.H. embarked from Dieppe in a Government 
steamer. H.S.H. was received at Dover by the naval 
and military authorities. A guard of honour attended 
H.S.H.'s departure." 

The Pall Mall Gazette maliciously commented that 
" H.S.H. must be rather astonished at the pinnacle on 
which his betrothal to Princess Helena has put him. 
In their own country Serene Highnesses mostly travel 
about in second-class carriages and smoke cheap 
cigars. Here they put in motion generals, admirals, 
troops and paragraphs when he moves." 

At the wedding the Queen for the first time allowed 
some modification of the ghastly garb of crepe which 
she had lived in for four and a half years. Her dress 



FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES 63 

was of moire antique, interwoven with silver ; of course, 
there was a good deal of crepe about it, but there was 
also a row of diamonds round the bodice and a little 
coronet of diamonds round the cap. 

It was not in such festive robes that Victoria, a 
month earlier, had watched her cousin, Mary of Cam- 
bridge, marry. There had been much speculation as 
to why Princess Mary remained single until she was 
thirty-three, for there was always some one ready and 
waiting. In 1864 she was said to be sought by "a 
gallant young soldier of noble birth," upon whose suit 
she did not frown, all that was wanting being the 
Queen's consent, which was for the moment withheld. 
It was evidently withheld for longer than a moment, 
and Princess Mary had still to wait. In 1866 she 
met Francis, Prince of Teck, the only son of Duke 
Alexander of Wiirtemberg and a Hungarian countess 
another morganatic marriage, but a faithful one ! 
Francis, being so born, could not inherit, so his father 
made him Duke of Teck, gave him his blessing and 
congratulated him on marrying an English royalty. 
He was a third poor German to add to Prince Louis 
of Hesse and Prince Christian, but so much regard 
was felt for the bride that the published comments 
were on the whole sympathetic. 

The wedding took place in the little church at Kew, 
in June, in the midst of a great company of princes 
and princesses, and the Queen entered upon the gay, 
brilliant scene clothed in mourning so deep that 
not one speck of white relieved her dress at any 
point. 



Many were the grandchildren born to her Majesty 
during these ten years, chief of which were the children 
of the Princess of Wales. The first two years of her 
life in England could scarcely have been happy to 
the young Dane, whose mind was filled with her people 
and their troubles, though her anxiety was tempered 
by her husband's complete sympathy. At breakfast 
one morning an equerry thoughtlessly read out news 
of a Danish defeat, causing Alexandra to burst into 
tears, and Albert Edward's! anger, it is said, would not 
have disgraced Henry VIII. It may be imagined 
that the Princess did not love Bismarck, and once 
when a visitor at Windsor asked Princess Beatrice 
what she would like for a present, the child, having 
consulted with Alexandra, replied 

" I want Bismarck's head on a charger, please." 

The Princess's eldest son came into this world two 
months before he was expected, and he was, therefore, 
unable to enjoy all the elaborate preparations which 
had been made for his comfort at Marlborough House. 
He had to be wrapped in an ordinary flannel petticoat, 
and was professionally examined by an ordinary 
Windsor practitioner bearing the ordinary name of 
Brown, just like any ordinary baby. Alexandra was 
staying at Frogmore and had gone to watch the skating 
on Virginia Water, leaving there at four in the after- 
noon; the baby was born at nine, and the London 
doctors and nurses arrived at eleven. Dr. Brown was 
probably the happiest person among them all, for he 
pocketed 500 for his share in the event. 

The baby was, of course, very small, and some 



FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES 65 

motherly person, thinking to comfort the Princess, 
remarked that John Russell (who was diminutive) was 
a seven months' child, and was surprised to hear a 
scream of laughter from the bed. 

Alexandra's second son was born in June 1865, he, 
too, being in a hurry, though he only antedated his 
parents' expectations by a month. Two years later 
a man named Alfred John Pearce published a pro- 
phecy about the young Prince George in an annual 
he then edited, and this was re -published in 1910 by 
the Toronto Globe. The salient part of the prophecy 
ran 

" From these positions [of the stars] we may con- 
clude and predict that this prince will, if he live, 
become King of England, under the name of 
George V. ... The Prince will in mind and taste 
greatly resemble his grandfather, the good and great 
Prince Albert. Indeed, England will be proud of 
her fifth King George, and his fame shall descend to 
posterity as one of the best and wisest of monarchs. 
The position of Jupiter signifies a very prosperous 
and peaceful reign." 

The last paragraph scarcely fulfils present-day con- 
ditions, but then King George may live so long that 
the present war may become but an incident in an 
otherwise peaceful and wise reign. 

Several other children were born to the Princess, 
of which Louise and Victoria, both belonging to this 
decade, survived. Princess Alice's first daughter saw 
the light at Windsor in April 1863 ; the Crown Princess 
of Germany was not idle ; while Princess Helena and 



66 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the Duchess of Teck both did their duty by the 
State. 

Among those who died were four veterans : the old 
enemies Palmerston and Stockmar, also King Leopold 
and Queen Amelie of France. Of the four Pam had 
had the most successful life, for one cannot find that 
he had known fear, and he alone of the four possessed 
wit. Stockmar was hypochondriacal ; all his life he 
had feared for his health, until at last he lost it. The 
Queen went to see him in 1862, and together they 
talked and wept over the dead prince, Stockmar 
breaking out one evening in deep lamentations, 
reproaching himself with being alive, and saying 

"Ah, my dear Prince, my good Prince, how happy 
I shall be to see you again ! That will not be long 
to wait." 

It was not long, for he died the next year, before 
the man whom he had always regarded as an enemy 
and that other whom he now loved best in the world, 
King Leopold. 

" In full activity, as a soldier at the breach," 
Palmerston died in October 1865, and, in spite of 
her long antagonism, it was at the wish of the Queen 
that he was buried in Westminster Abbey. The 
funeral service was dramatic. The hearse, which was, 
as usual, a forest of nodding plumes, was followed by 
solemn royal carriages, and then by gaudy mayoral 
coaches, brought from all over England and contain- 
ing one hundred and forty costumed corporations. 
This qortege, like some huge, primeval saurian crawl- 
ing to its fossil bed, slowly went to the Abbey through 






FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES 67 

sunshine; but during the ceremony there a storm 
broke, rain fell heavily, wind howled, and in that 
darkness so dark that the clergyman was nearly 
invisible the body was lowered. When the grave 
was covered the sun came out again. 

Pam was eighty -one, and in some ways still young, 
active and occupied to the last week of his life. I 
have been told a curious story of the way in which 
he received his bootmaker, named Seton. An ap- 
pointment would be made, and Seton would be shown 
into the room where Palmerston was standing at a 
high desk, writing. The footman would put a stool 
to the right and the statesman's foot would be placed 
on it and measured, the stool being then placed in 
position for the left foot. Seton would then go away 
without having received a word from his customer. 
This had gone on for twenty years, during which the 
two had never spoken to each other. 

This bootmaker, well known in his day, also served 
the Prince of Wales, and the first time he went to 
Marlborough House he was shown into a room and 
left to wait. About forty minutes later the Prince 
came in, and, seeing a stranger, asked 

" Who are you? " 

" I have come to measure your Royal Highness for 
a pair of boots," was the reply. 

Albert Edward rang the bell sharply, and said to 
the servant, " How is it that Mr. Seton has been kept 
waiting here forty minutes and you did not tell me? 
Let it never occur again." 

But then the Prince was not quite so seriously 



68 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

occupied as his Prime Minister. Palmerston pos- 
sessed a terse wit which sometimes flashed across the 
dismal speeches of the House. Thus, when some one 
was boringly enumerating things which we owe to the 
Jews, Pam replied 

" I quite agree with the honourable gentleman ; 
many of us owe a great deal to the Jews." 

A lady once told him that her maid objected to 
going to the Isle of Wight again because its climate 
was not embracing enough. " Now what would you 
do with such a woman ? " she asked. 

" Take her to the Isle of Man next time," was the 
prompt response. 1 

Leopold of Belgium died in December 1865, much 
to Victoria's sorrow. At one time he was the most 
devoted friend of France, but in his later life he 
became intensely suspicious of Louis Napoleon, 
having been worked on by German intrigue to that 
end, for Bismarck, too, feared France, and started the 
policy of isolating her in Europe. It was a successful 
policy both with Belgium and England, for as long 
as Victoria lived there was no confidence between the 
two countries. As for Leopold, he lived in terror of 
Napoleon, and constantly raised the cry that the latter 
intended to annex Belgium. He also did much in 
influencing Victoria against her neighbour, continually 
alarming her ministers and fostering English distrust 
of the French. 

Early the next year ex-Queen Marie Amelie, aged 

eighty-two, was buried at Weybridge, her body being 

1 Notes from a Diary. By Grant Duff. 



FAMILY GAINS AND LOSSES 69 

followed to the grave by princes, ambassadors and 
ministers from almost every country in Europe, as well 
as from Brazil and Mexico. 

In June 1867 Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, was 
shot by his own subjects. His wife was the Queen's 
cousin, Charlotte, daughter of King Leopold, of whom 
she had been very fond. Charlotte came to Europe 
in 1866, hoping to turn Napoleon from his purpose 
of withdrawing all French troops from Mexico and 
so leaving her husband unprotected, and she went 
mad at her want of success. She is still alive, though 
it is doubtful whether her brother's stories of her con- 
tinued insanity were true, for he had secured her whole 
fortune and it was to his interest to keep her in 
seclusion. The house in which she lives was entered 
by Germans in the autumn of 1914. 

What a farce is the supreme position in a country ! 
Queen Amelie had fled for her life from her subjects 
and lived eighteen years in exile; Leopold lived in 
fear of the monarch next door to him; and Louis 
Napoleon lived in terror of assassination by the 
dagger. When President Lincoln was shot in 1865 
Napoleon's shattered nerves made him leave Paris 
abruptly for Algiers, under the excuse of drinking the 
waters there, but it was said in reality to get used 
to the idea that a pistol was a good assassination 
weapon a fact which he had always contended and 
also to realize that the chances against him were now 
doubled. 



CHAPTER VI 

ROYAL SECLUSION 

" ' Nay, let -my people see me ! ' Kind 

Was she whom then our cheers were greeting, 
Now, would that Lady bear in mind 
That words like those will bear repeating? " 

Shirley Brooks in ' Punch.' 

"Prince Albert, the oppressively good." Current Press. 

AFTER the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria 
practically buried herself; she did not put her body 
under the ground, it is true, but what was almost 
equally bad she enclosed her mind in stone, in 
mausoleums, statues, cairns and other mori memento, 
and to the living world she became as dead as a nun. 
To her family she still partly lived, and that family 
no doubt hoped to see her some day again fully alive, 
but they could scarcely have believed that two dozen 
years would pass before Victoria would begin to recog- 
nize the ordinary amenities of social life. Yet so it 
was, and this long self-indulgence in a life of privacy 
while clinging to the most public post in the kingdom, 
explains to a great extent why the nation generally 
feel a far deeper personal affection for Edward VII 
than for Queen Victoria. The fact that she was a 
woman saved the Queen from the full effect of her sins 

of omission. Men were imbued by that unhealthy sense 

70 






ROYAL SECLUSION 71 

of what is called chivalry for womanhood which allows 
of two standards of right and honour for the two sexes ; 
the men of the time were also suspicious that they 
could not understand such an unreasonable creature 
as woman, and that it was better to accede to her whims 
than dispute them. " Men must work and women 
must weep " explained the whole situation, and that 
Queen Victoria did weep and nurse her grief con- 

Einually seemed for a time sufficient excuse for the 
eglect of all her public work. But there is not the 
olightest doubt that had a king in the same circum- 
stances indulged his personal wishes to the exclusion 
of public duty, as did Queen Victoria, that which was 
nearly a revolution in 1867 would have been com- 
pletely so, for the discontent and anger of the people 
was by that time intense. 

Another quality which helped to save the situation 
was the Queen's sentimental nature, for it was an age 
of sentimentality, of feminine, or rather, to use the 
then current word, " female " foolishness and mascu- 
line superiority, an age when " females " tied their 
husband's neckties and laced their boots, when the 
"male" thought he was justified in swearing at his 
wife if she neglected to put the studs into his shirt, 
and expected her to consider herself fully compensated 
by his protection. 

The Queen was intensely sentimental. To the end 
of her days she wrote birthday greetings to every child, 
grandchild and great-grandchild, as well as to many 
others; she mourned all deaths on the right anniver- 
saries, and remembered all the marriages. With such 



72 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a nature it was understandable that she should assume 
perpetual mourning for the Prince Consort. At first 
her people responded by putting up statues to his 
memory, and nothing roused her so much as these 
evidences of sympathy. Each one was a justification 
for her continued mourning, and she commemorated 
the bereavement in every possible fashion. Thus 
early in her widowhood she summoned Noel Paton to 
Windsor to arrange the painting of a picture of " The 
Bereaved Family," and later she broke through her 
new habit of seclusion sufficiently to go to the artist's 
studio to see how the picture was progressing. Find- 
ing his little boy there, and always loving children, 
she is said to have asked him if he would not kiss 
her, to which he replied " No." Being asked if he 
knew who she was, he answered 

''' Yes, you are the Queen of England, and you killed 
Queen Mary, so I don't love you." An answer which 
probably did not displease her, as she, too, disliked 
Queen Elizabeth for the same cause. 

Early in 1862 great exertions were being made to 
raise subscriptions for an Albert memorial in London, 
which were responded to but slowly ; and to his memory 
the Royal Horticultural Gardens were inaugurated by 
the Prince of Wales. The Queen paid her first visit 
since her widowhood to the metropolis the following 
year to see them. 

Her first care was the mausoleum at Frogmore, 
which was built as a cross with the funeral cell in the 
centre, that part being lit by windows in the clerestory. 
The roof was of copper, bearing a square tower sur- 



ROYAL SECLUSION 73 

mounted by a cross. The doorway was guarded by 
monoliths of Aberdeen granite, and the whole exterior 
was faced with a mixture of granite from Aberdeen 
and Guernsey. 

The Queen was never tired of adding to the interior 
tdornments of this mourning house, I had almost said 
lis place of worship, until in 1890 its effect was 
sumptuous rather than austere. A great picture of 
Christ emerging from the tomb, with Roman soldiers 
liding under their shields in fear at the triumph over 
leath, hung over the altar; on one side was a picture 
of the crucifixion, and on the other one of the visit 
of the disciples to the empty tomb. Four bronze 
angels supported the sarcophagus, upon which rested 
a recumbent figure of the Prince in white marble. A 
beautiful marble statue of Princess Alice later occu- 
pied a recess. Before the tomb were placed three 
rows of chairs, the first devoted to the Queen and 
her children, the second to lesser royalties and prin- 
cipal ladies, and the third to other ladies and 
gentlemen. Such was the spot which for a long time 
became the centre of the Queen's death-in-life. 

In the Highlands a cairn, its base forty feet square, 
was raised on Craig Lowrigan, where it could be seen 
" all down the valley." " I and my poor six orphans 
all placed stones on it; and our initials as well as those 
of the three absent ones are to be carved on the stones 
all. round it," wrote Victoria. This cairn was the sub- 
ject of a stupid sermon by a Dr. Candlish, a leading 
light among the Free Kirkers who took umbrage at the 
inscription, from The Wisdom of Solomon, " He being 



74 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

made perfect in a short time fulfilled a long time. For 
his soul pleased the Lord; therefore hastened He to 
take him away from among the wicked." 

The Free Kirkers, having justly desired to choose 
their own pastors, had years before rebelled against 
lay patronage, and had provoked the determined 
opposition of the Queen, who considered that the royal 
prerogative was in essence being assailed. Therefore 
they were ready to condemn all English ecclesiasti- 
cism, and Candlish declared that this text was a 
studied insult to the " Bible that Scotland loved," to 
the doctrine of Inspiration, to Scotland and [which 
was certainly true] to the generation from which the 
Prince had been removed by death. It was " shabby, 
flimsy, a wretched shred and a sham without even an 
allusion to blessed immortality." 

The English were aghast at this attack on the 
Queen, and Candlish had to publish an apology, which 
was really almost as bad as the offence, as he declared 
that he did not for a moment think that the Queen 
had chosen such a text, but had been led away by the 
evil advice of English clergymen. 

The Scot is a cute person, and a religious publisher 
seized this opportunity of pushing a new edition of 
the Bible which he had ready, with this flourish of 
advertising verbosity 

" A copy has been presented to the Prince of Wales 
and the Princess Alexandra through Lord Shaftesbury 
who have been graciously pleased, especially the 
Princess, that brightest of orbs in the firmament of 
living beauty, to express high admiration of it." 



ROYAL SECLUSION 



75 



Truly religion in the beloved Highlands was on its 
rial! 

It was in the autumn of 1863 and at Aberdeen that 
Victoria appeared for the first time in public, and then 
mutely, to unveil a statue to Albert, and to declare 
through the lips of Sir George Grey that she had come 
to proclaim in public the unbounded reverence and 
admiration, the devoted love that fills my heart for 
him whose loss must throw a lasting gloom over all 
ly future life." 

Such words in such circumstances would to-day 
seem greatly wanting in reticence and dignity, but 
upon this subject Victoria knew no reticence, and she 
followed this unveiling and declaration with many 
other events of the same kind both in Scotland and 
England. 

In time "statues to the Prince almost covered the 
land," as Gladstone once said, and even Ireland tried 
to do its best. But at Dublin the movement met a 
check. The Irish knew themselves neglected by 
rulers and governing classes, and the Irish remember 
even to this day a speech by Prince Albert in which 
he said contemptuously that the Irish were entitled to 
no more sympathy than were the Poles. The Fenian 
movement too, born in Paris about 1855 of Irish 
agitators, and nursed in America, had grown strong 
and lusty, so when the Mayor of Dublin called a 
meeting on February 8, 1863, to arrange to put up a 
Prince Albert statue on College Green, a man named 
Sullivan made a proposal that the statue of Grattan 
should occupy the spot, saying that Dublin people 



76 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

would hate the Prince's statue and hiss it as they 
passed. 

Sullivan's motion was defeated, but he called a 
meeting of protest in the Rotunda, which was said to 
have been attended by 40,000 people. Now the pro- 
testor himself was regarded as a traitor by the majority 
of the Fenians, and when he began to speak the 
moiety of the audience which had got into the hall, 
among the leaders of whom was O' Donovan Rossa, 
went for him, and also for the O'Donoghue, M.P., who 
was chairman of the meeting. These two flew for 
their lives, hid for two hours in some private room and 
were rescued by the police. In the great hall the 
speaking had occupied only a few minutes, but for two 
hours a free fight raged, being probably much enjoyed 
by the combatants. 

That was the end of the Prince's statue on the 
Green, and years later one was erected there to 
Grattan, the work being done by J. H. Foley. A 
statue was eventually erected to Albert on Leinster 
Lawn, which forms one side of Merrion Square and 
belongs to the Royal Dublin Society. It was pro- 
tected by high railings, yet one Sunday night in 1872 
an attempt was made to blow it up with dynamite. 

The impression left upon the mind of the Queen 
was that the Irish had flouted and insulted the memory 
of her adored husband, and it was over thirty-six 
years before she showed any signs of forgiving the 
incident. 

In 1866 the Queen sent to her eldest grandchild, 
William of Prussia, a silver statuette of his grand- 



ROYAL SECLUSION 77 

father,, three feet high, representing him as a hero 
conquering sin. 

There was probably a double reason for this, for 
the beloved first grandchild was showing an unamiable 
spirit. Sir Charles Halle described him paradoxically 
as charming, but a devil. The little prince had 
entered the Queen's room just as Sir Charles was 
leaving it, and Victoria told him to salute her visitor. 
He refused, and she asked him what his mamma would 
say if she were told that her little boy was impolite. 
However, he would not move. The Queen insisted 
that he should obey, and the delightful eight-year- 
old boy, looking straight into her eyes, said 

" I will not ! " 

This was followed by a spanking, or as the musician 
put it, " a veritable struggle and a very painful one 
took place between grandmother and grandson. At 
last the child yielded and made a deep bow." 

There is another story, probably belonging to a 
somewhat earlier year, of how little William, being 
naughty at the luncheon-table, was sentenced to dis- 
appear beneath the table until the meal was over. 
Being at last allowed to return to dining-room society, 
he emerged stark naked. 

The fact that Queen Victoria, while repudiating all 
public activity, found energy to visit Netley Hospital 
and the Consumptive Hospital at Brompton early in 
her widowhood, these being places the foundation 
stones of which had been laid by the Prince; that she 
instituted the Albert medal as an award to those who 
saved life at sea; that for years her chief personal 



78 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

interest was in planning and unveiling memorials ; all 
these indicate the state of her mind. She had fallen 
in love with grief, and her only pleasure came from 
indulging it. 

As the years passed the public grew tired of this 
insistence upon woe. It had wept with her at first and 
had been roused to a sympathetic, protective love for 
her. The journals had given the Prince such paeans 
of praise as a winding-sheet as were not later accorded 
to Victoria herself. This was a reaction of feeling in 
regard to the popular prejudice against the Prince 
which had troubled all his English life, and the re- 
action was caused by the suddenness of the catastrophe 
and a true appreciation of the Queen's grief; but it 
passed, and the public's opinion of the Prince Consort 
gradually veered round to what it had been, largely, 
at the time, because of the resentment felt at Victoria's 
attitude in showing always that the dead man was of 
more importance to her than her living subjects. 

But Queen Victoria thought that that evanescent 
mood had come to stay, and that her people's first care 
should be that she should be left in peace with her 
sorrow. So for the first three or four years she saw 
no one but her children and usual attendants; she 
refused to go to London or to take up any Court 
functions Albert had always hated London, and she 
too disliked it. She grew morbid and self-absorbed, 
and suffered keenly from self-consciousness on the 
very rare occasions when she did appear before 
strangers, generally to unveil a statue. 

A ball or so, a concert or so, a drawing-room or so, 






ROYAL SECLUSION 79 



ach with a princess as hostess, made the courtly 
season, and the tradesmen of London began to com- 
plain, the papers began to urge the Queen to come 
into view, and the people began to say, "Why have 
a queen at all ? " Victoria paid no heed, for she had 
a large share of that firmness which the vulgar call 
obstinacy. She also possessed an absolute conviction 
that when she had chosen a course she could not be 
wrong, her decision, being hers, must be right. There- 
fore she refused all concessions and continued in her 
isolated position. She saw nothing of the change 
coming over the minds of men, of the republican 
feeling which was permeating the working classes 
under Palmerston's contempt for all schemes of 
political reform, of the hatred which was leavening 
Ireland against England because of the mixed policy 
of neglect and tyranny which obtained there. She 
only saw, when complaints were made, that her people 
were unjust and cruel to her personally, that repub- 
licanism was a sin against Divine Right, and that the 
Irish were very wicked people. Such warnings as the 
following, published by The Times, she regarded as 
pure extravagance 

" It may be that in time London may accustom itself 
to do without the Palace, but it is not desirable that 
we should attain that point of republican simplicity. 
. . . No reigning house can afford to confirm in their 
view those who suggest that the throne is only an 
antiquarian relic and royalty itself a ceremony, who 
think that the less that is seen and heard of a Court 
the better." 



80 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

In 1864 she made the concession of allowing her 
birthday to be kept with the usual honours, she herself 
being at Balmoral. The next year she announced that 
she would hold two Courts, one for diplomatists and 
the second for such distinguished persons as she 
wished to invite. At once the hope arose that Buck- 
ingham Palace would again become inhabited and the 
Court recover from its state of suspended animation, 
but there was a tinge of doubt and bitterness mixed 
with the hope. 

The first reception, that to the diplomatists, had an 
unfortunate introduction; the officials who arranged it 
had been four years out of practice, and had forgotten 
the formula. They sent out the invitations in some- 
thing like this form 

" The Queen will graciously receive the Corps 
Diplomatique, male and female, at a Court to be held 
at Buckingham Palace," etc. 

Such a barbarism could not pass unnoticed, and the 
invited gentlemen sent their cards to their respective 
Courts, either as curiosities or to ask for guidance, so 
the blunder was known all over the world. Victoria 
must have felt much mortified, and though all those 
responsible tried to shift the fault on to each other's 
shoulders, nobody dared to suggest that it was want 
of usage which occasioned the stupidity. 

Two swallows do not make a summer, and these two 
receptions did not constitute a season; the grumbles 
and entreaties continued, and in September 1865 
Punch published its renowned cartoon of " Hermione, 
in which Pauline, in the form of Britannia, is shown 



ROYAL SECLUSION 81 

drawing back some curtains, thus revealing a statue 
of the Queen, crowned and wearing her robes of 
State. 

"'Tis time ! Descend ! Be stone no more ! " says 
Pauline. 

At last, when public comment became too loud and 
sustained, Victoria published a definite statement of 
her intentions, declaring that the idea that she was 
intending to resume her place as head of society could 
not be too explicitly contradicted; that she had other 
and higher duties to perform, which weighed unceas- 
ingly upon her, overwhelming her with work and 
anxiety; that she had laboured to discharge those 
duties till her health and strength had been impaired. 
" To call upon her to undergo, in addition, the fatigue 
of those mere State ceremonies which can be equally 
well performed by other members of her family, is 
to ask her to run the risk of entirely disabling herself 
for the discharge of those other duties which cannot 
be neglected without serious injury to the public 
interest." The statement ended with her saying that 
she would do what she could in the manner least 
trying to her health, strength and spirits to give 
support to society and encouragement to trade. 

This pronouncement rather increased than allayed 
the dissatisfaction, for the popular mind could not 
understand that any work should make a recluse of 
the most public official in the whole country. The 
difference between the two standpoints lay in the fact 
that England regards the Sovereign as the Crown of 
the State, while Victoria regarded herself not as the 



82 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Crown alone but as the foundation, a somewhat con- 
tradictory view, which I doubt if even she could have 
explained. 

What was this work in which she buried herself? 

It was work which had gradually fallen into Albert- 
Victoria's hands through the .Germanic ideals of the 
Prince Consort, who, under Stockmar's tuition, con- 
sistently mistook the functions of royalty in England. 
He demanded that nothing of any sort should be done 
in the Cabinet, or in Parliament, until it had received 
full consideration by the Queen; in actual fact he 
asked that the Constitution should become an absolute 
Monarchy, that no dispatches should be sent away 
until they had been studied by the Queen, which really 
meant by himself and altered in agreement with her 
wishes. This applied not only to important matters 
but to everything, to the merest triviality of legisla- 
tion; but foreign diplomacy was regarded as particu- 
larly the prerogative of the Sovereign with a view to 
upholding Monarchy in Europe. 

When the Prince died Victoria gathered all this 
work into her own hands, and at the same time felt 
acutely that it was no fit work for a woman, for she 
had no belief in the intellectual capacity of her sex. 
Thus, while she set herself to perform a perfectly 
unnecessary, useless and impossible task, she pitied 
herself with an intensity which was pathetic. Writing 
to Theodore Martin, she asked him to contradict th< 
idea that it was the Queen's sorrow which kept hei 
secluded. " It is her overwhelming work and her 
health which is greatly shaken by her sorrow, and the 




QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1864 
After a painting by Winterhalter 



83 

totally overwhelming amount of work and responsi- 
bility work which she feels really wears her out. 
Alice Helps is wonder-struck at the Queen's room, 
and if Mrs. Martin will look at it she can tell Mr. 
Martin what surrounds her. From the hour she gets 
out of bed until she gets into it again there is 
work, work, work, letter-boxes, questions, etc., which 
are dreadfully exhausting and if she had not 
comparative rest and quiet in the evening she would 
most likely not be alive. Her brain is constantly 
overtaxed." 

Mrs. Martin went to look at the royal workroom, 
and wrote of " the piles of dispatch-boxes, all of them 
full of work for her, and all requiring immediate 
attention ; and this goes on from day to day. It is the 
Queen's great aim to follow the Prince's plan, which 
was to sign nothing until he had read and made notes 
upon what he signed. You may imagine how such 
conscientiousness swallows up the royal leisure." 

Conscientiousness is admirable, when rightly used; 
in this case, however, though it justified itself to the 
Queen, it was exercised to the detriment of the country. 
Upon all these papers dealing with the government of 
the country the most expert political brains of which- 
ever party was in power had been exercised, yet each 
question had, in every stage of its development, to 
be reduced to the comprehension of a single mind, 
and every movement of its passage had to be retarded 
while that mind w r as not only grappling with it, but 
demanding alterations. Had Victoria's intellect been 
equal to that of her most renowned Minister the 



84 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

situation would still have been difficult; as it was it 
was often painful, leading to an intense royal dislike 
of some statesmen, and a system of unashamed flattery 
on the part of others which, while oiling the wheels of 
the machine, was unperceived by Victoria. 

It does seem as if the poor Queen, in her desire to 
continue to rule England according to the ideals of 
the Prince Consort and Stockmar, had set herself an 
overwhelming task, to use her own word. But there 
was, entirely unknown to her general subjects, and for 
a long time to her Cabinet, an alleviation of the 
situation. From the beginning of her widowhood she 
had called upon some of those who held official posts 
in her household to help her in these political duties. 
The Hon. Charles Grey, who had been private secre- 
tary to Albert, remained the Queen's private secretary 
until his death in 1870. He and Sir Charles Phipps, 
the Keeper of the Privy Purse, were deputed by her 
to assist her personally in the matter of dispatches, 
and they had clerkly assistants to aid them. Mr., 
afterwards Sir Arthur, Helps, Clerk to the Privy 
Council, advised her in personal matters, and thus 
there were a number of people engaged in doing 
the actual work of which Victoria complained. An 
anonymous criticism of the Queen appeared in The 
Quarterly Review in April 1891, the authorship of 
which I have seen ascribed to such diverse people as 
Baron Stockmar's son and Lady Ponsonby the first 
obviously impossible which revealed much about this 
secret staff. 

' The staff, never officially acknowledged in the 



ROYAL SECLUSION 85 

fulness of its functions, had to exercise the most com- 
plete self-effacement and became in effect an expan- 
sion of the Queen's personal power in action. The 
watchword of the lives of her private secretaries was 
devotion to the will of the Queen. The secret of the 
power they exercised was faithfully kept from the 
public, and will always be kept. These men gave 
their lives to her service, without demur or reserve, 
and it is as much to her honour as it is to theirs, that 
she inspired such complete devotion in men of such 
remarkable gifts." 

Later General Ponsonby, Sir Thomas Biddulph, 
Sir Arthur Bigge and Sir Fleetwood Edwards became 
members of the advising staff. These men were 
required to belong to no party, to have no politics and 
to show in their political work no bias, and they loyally 
succeeded in conforming to these conditions. Beacons- 
field once said he believed General Ponsonby to be a 
Whig, but could not tell what he really was, adding, 
" I can only say that I could not wish my case stated 
to the Queen better than her private secretary does 
it." Gladstone also paid the General a high tribute 
of the same kind. 

These men, forming a sort of secret cabinet, read 
through all dispatches and digested all political 
questions, kept watch upon all matters of public 
importance, and had the history and analysis of events 
ready scheduled for Victoria's use should she call for 
it. Thus her position was not so bad as she in her 
self-commiseration thought it was, and she found 
plenty of time to write her numberless family letters, 



86 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

keep in touch with a hundred and one schemes for 
perpetuating the Prince's memory, and carry on 
various literary labours of her own. 

The first of the books which she caused to be pub- 
lished in 1862 was a collection of her husband's 
speeches, Arthur Helps doing the actual preparation 
under her keen supervision. Then came the compila- 
tion of the volume entitled Early Years of H.R.H. 
the Prince Consort, in which Charles Grey helped 
her, the Queen sorting and choosing all the material. 
This work proved so congenial to her that she looked 
for more, and projected an important biography of 
the Prince. As Sir Charles Grey found it impossible 
again to combine his heavy secretarial duties with 
biographical work, she went for advice to Arthur 
Helps, a man of high literary attainment. He also 
being much occupied, suggested Theodore Martin as 
a likely man for the task, and under that gentleman's 
editorship the five huge volumes of the Life were 
written. Theodore Martin refused to take a penny 
for his work, doing it entirely as a labour of love, 
thereby receiving the friendship of the Queen and 
a knighthood. For this book Victoria chose all letters 
and documents and watched every page of its pro- 
gress, allowing it to absorb much of her time. The 
first volume was not published until 1874, but the 
other four volumes followed quickly. 

A fourth book, and in one way the most important 
of all, for it was much more widely read, and has 
long outlasted the others, was Leaves from the Journal 
of Our Life in the Highlands, being a selection from 



ROYAL SECLUSION 87 

Victoria's diary written in her Balmoral home. The 
contents of this were carefully chosen by her Majesty, 
and Arthur Helps put it together. It is, or was in the 
last generation, too well known to need description; 
simply written, it is an account of daily life and 
excursions in Scotland, tremendously laudatory both 
)f the scenery and the people, precise as to the hour 
ind minute at which everything was done, and full 
)f allusions to the Prince : " Albert was in perfect 
icstacies ... it delighted dear Albert. . . . Albert en- 
joyed it so much." Also as Punch and other reviews 
-wickedly said, " the trait that seems to be the most 
)rominent in her Majesty's book is the tea-tray." One 
paper solemnly declared that it was untrue that Sir 
Wilfred Lawson intended to write a diary of his 
temperance work and dedicate it to the Queen under 
the title " More (Tea) Leaves." The Royal party 
seems to have been a perpetual tea-party, for wherever 
they went or whatever happened the tea-kettle was 
always being boiled. At Balmoral it appears to have 
been all holiday, for work is never mentioned in the 
book, which was one that any simple-minded woman 
might have written, making no pretensions to style; 
but then, said Victoria, " How could Mr. Helps expect 
pains to be taken when she wrote late at night, suffering 
from headache and exhaustion, and in dreadful haste 
and not for publication ? " 

However, it was published, privately in 1867 and 
publicly the next year, realizing something over 
30,000, which some paragraphist gravely asserted was 
given to the Prince of Wales, who on an inadequate 



88 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

income was doing all the royal State work. Thus 
it will be seen that while the Queen was lamenting that 
her work for her country destroyed her health, she 
was also deeply engrossed in superintending four 
books, three of which appeared at the very time that 
she was excusing herself from her public duties. 



CHAPTER VII 

SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 

" With a Court that is given to chilling formality, 

Limited Monarch in name and in deed; 
It rests with the people to show hospitality, 

Such as consorts with the national creed." Anon. 

" She closed her palace deputing the heir-apparent to dwell 
in a beautiful castle she possessed in a secluded and romantic 
spot, retaining about her only a few faithful adherents. She 
chose as her constant attendant a trusty and faithful henchman 
named Ivan Roan, whose duty it was to watch over her, and 
accompany her in her long rambles amidst the wild but pictur- 
esque scenery which surrounded her mountain home." Queen 
Tresoria and her People. 1867. 

FROM the first year of her widowhood Queen Victoria 
went to Scotland twice a year, and she gradually 
followed a definite annual routine. Christmas would 
be spent at Osborne, the visit there not concluding 
until well into January, and even on rare occasions 
until the end of February. When in later years she 
went abroad, April was the favourite month. In May 
the journey taken was to Balmoral, for a four weeks' 
visit, which generally ended about the twentieth of 
June. Some time in July the royal party went to 
Osborne, whence in August they travelled straight to 
Scotland, this autumn sojourn in the north varying 
from six weeks to three months, the longest stay there 

being even longer than that. Thus it would be some 

89 



90 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

time in November before Victoria returned to Windsor, 
and then, as soon as the fatal fourteenth of December 
was passed, the Court moved to Osborne for Christmas. 
During the whole twelve months the Queen would pass 
a few isolated days in her capital. Windsor received 
her during the intervals between Scotland and Os- 
borne; it was not far from London, and yet only the 
most pressing family reasons could at first induce her 
to make the journey to town. 

It had been regarded as a sacred duty that the 
Sovereign should always open Parliament in person. 
William IV was the first to fail to comply with it, but 
only in the last year of his reign; and he was ad- 
monished that his absence contravened constitutional 
principle. 

Our Queen, however, resolutely refused to take this 
slight share in the work of the State, and thus she gave 
opportunity for further criticism, until when 1866 
dawned she found herself face to face with a difficulty. 
Though she flouted Parliament she could not do with- 
out its help, and this year she must ask it not only for 
a dowry for Princess Helena, but for an income for 
Prince Alfred, who was coming of age. So, feeling it 
necessary to do something popular, she consented to 
appear at the February ceremony. 

It was a terrible trial to her; she had lived in seclu- 
sion so long that she did not know how to bring herself 
to face a multitude, and as she was doing it for her 
own ends and not from a sense of duty or a love for 
her people, she did it grudgingly, determined that if 
the public wanted to see her they should see her not 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 



91 



as the royal head of the State, but as one who sorrowed 
unceasingly. 

Long before two, the hour of opening, the throne- 
room was filled with a gorgeous crowd. Said Mon- 
cure D. Conway, in his Autobiography : " I believe 
every gem, necklace, coronet, robe and decoration 
belonging to the nobility was worn that day; the 
fullest of Court dress, and the scene was billowy with 
necks and shoulders." When silver trumpets sounded 
and a cannon thundered the whole assembly rose as 
though galvanized. Then came an awkward pause, 
for nothing happened, and with cheerful grins every 
one sat down again. 

On the throne before that great company were spread 
the royal robes, with the crown near by, and every one 
wondered. The Queen used the dress carriage, not 
the state coach, and had it drawn up at the peers' 
door, not at the royal entrance, and when she went 
into the throne-room it was in dead silence, without 
the usual fanfare of trumpets. Deep reverences were 
made, but murmurs of disappointment accompanied 
them. The Queen seated herself on the throne, her 
daughters drawing the state robe about her. To quote 
again from Moncure Conway 

" Save for some slight badge and the Koh-i-Noor 
on her forehead, she was still in sombre raiment. She 
was the only homely woman in the House, and this 
was accentuated by contrast with the beautiful and 
superbly costumed Princess of Wales. Instead of her 
reading the address to Parliament, it was read by the 
Chancellor. Through it she sat as if carved on the 



92 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

throne; when it was finished she rose, bowed slightly, 
kissed the Princess of Wales and disappeared through 
the back door. . . . This withdrawal from her func- 
tions impressed me as a danger. There was a vigor- 
ous republican agitation going on in England, and it 
was frequently said that the practical extinction of the 
Court had demonstrated the uselessness of the throne. 
I remember being at a dinner of the Urban Club, St. 
John's Gate, of which I was a member, when young 
Mr. Babington, a kinsman of Lord Macaulay, refused 
to rise to the toast to the Queen, avowing, when 
his conduct was questioned, his republican opposition 
to monarchy. There was a noisy discussion, but a 
goodly number defended Babington's right so to 
express his opinion. It became plain to me that 
the Queen was not popular." 

Having once made a public progression through the 
streets, her Majesty opened Parliament again next 
year, with the same absence of state, though her gown 
was more regal in that it was trimmed with ermine, 
and she wore a Marie Stuart cap. Laments were 
uttered that her sweet, musical voice was no longer 
heard in England's Parliament, and instead of declar- 
ing themselves amply satisfied, the papers pleaded 
that, having done so much, she should go further and 
take up other neglected royal duties. 

"Our royal personages, when they travel abroad, 
are received with royal honours. It seems unfit that 
there should be so little return as there has been in 
England of late for the hospitalities which have in so 
many countries been extended to our own princes. 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 



98 



Hotels, however comfortable, are not palaces, and it 
is unseemly that the entertaining of strangers should 
ever be done in England by simply paying the bill. 
In private life the thing would be impossible." So 
said The Queen newspaper. 

The trouble hinted at here had been gathering force 
for some time, and arose from the fact that Victoria 
refused to entertain at her home any but personal 
friends. When Prince Humbert of Italy came to 
England he was put up at his ambassador's, was not 
invited to Court, was shown over Windsor Castle like 
an ordinary visitor, and had to go to an inn there to 
get food. Said a sneering journalist, " It is such 
delicate courtesies as these on the part of our Court 
that make the name of England so deeply respected 
and beloved throughout the Continent." 

The Queen of Holland came to England in Sep- 
tember 1867, was received at Woolwich by Customs 
House officials, and on arrival in London was driven 
to Claridge's Hotel, whence she went to Hatfield 
to become the guest of the Marquis of Salisbury. 
However, the matter which had raised the question of 
England's loss of dignity in its treatment of friendly 
foreign sovereigns was that not only had her Majesty's 
Ministry refused to take any part in the Great French 
Exhibition in deference to the Queen's and Palmer- 
ston's known dislike and distrust of Louis Napoleon, 
but that Victoria refused to entertain any of the royal 
visitors to that great gathering. The Emperor of 
Russia, the Sultan of Turkey, the Khedive of Egypt 
and other crowned heads were to be within a few 

' ' 






* ma v 



94 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

journey of London, but no invitations were sent to 
any one to visit us. 

" We might, so far as this mighty fellowship of the 
nations is concerned, as well be dead. . . . There is 
dust on the curtains and rust on the hinges of the 
doors. . . . The stupor is forced upon us. We are 
all ready to rebel against the fate that holds us down. 
And unless a relaxation of the bondage is speedily 
granted, our national dissatisfaction will find a voice," 
complained the leader-writer in The Sunday Times, 
and all the papers voiced the popular anger. 

The Khedive sent a message that he would like to 
visit England, which gave the Queen a shock at the 
idea that she should entertain him, though both Buck- 
ingham Palace and St. James's Palace stood empty 
from one end of the year to the other. The perplexed 
Ministers could only think of Claridge's Hotel ; there 
were remonstrances and questions in the House, and 
then Lord Dudley "interposed to protect the nation 
from the reproach which would have been cast upon 
it," by placing his mansion in Park Lane at the dis- 
posal of the Viceroy, and the Cabinet were only too 
glad to accept his offer. 

The Sultan openly waited an invitation from the 
English Court, and no one knew what to do. No one 
really wanted him, for it was the time of the Cretan 
rebellion, which was being put down with the usual 
Turkish barbarities. However, the Ministers thought 
it a matter of diplomacy to let him come, and urged 
upon Victoria that it was extremely necessary that 
she should extend and confirm her influence in the 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 95 

East, the cleverest argument that they could have 
used. 

So she relented and allowed the Sultan, whom 
Gladstone later called the greatest murderer in 
Europe, to be received at Buckingham Palace, she 
herself remaining at Windsor. Her friendly instincts 
were satisfied by inviting the Khedive to dine and 
sleep at Windsor one night, by inviting the Sultan to 
lunch one day, and holding a grand review of battle- 
ships in the latter's honour. It had been suggested 
that Abdul Aziz should be decorated with the Order 
of India, but the proud monarch scorned anything less 
than the Garter, and he was invested with it during the 
review. It was a stormy day, the ships at Spithead 
pitching bows under when at anchor. On the yacht 
Osborne the Sultan steamed for two miles between 
battleships three lines of vessels on either side of 
him and at the end he joined the Queen on the 
Victoria and Albert. There the ceremony took place, 
being done " in grand style by the Queen herself," on 
the quarter deck, in the midst of a howling storm and 
the roaring of cannon. As it was also done in a hurry 
there was no ribbon ready, so Victoria took the Prince 
Hesse's ribbon, intending it should be changed for 

new one afterwards, but the Sultan refused to give 
it up, saying he would only wear the actual ribbon 

riven him by the Queen. 
The people of England, in their delight at feel- 

ig themselves once more in touch with the great 

rorld of Europe, went wild over the Sultan, the last 
monarch on the continent to deserve their ebullience ; 



96 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

yet he went away dissatisfied with the attention shown 
him. 

In May 1867, the Queen went in semi-state to lay 
the foundation-stone of the Albert Hall, a wooden 
building equal in size to the intended hall having 
been put up and roofed in canvas. The velvet and 
gold canopy and throne which should have been used 
at the 1862 exhibition were transferred there, and 
Victoria, in deepest mourning, widow's bonnet and 
crepe mantle, occupied its gorgeousness, her mind in 
tune with her clothing. But she was not always so 
sad, and we read of her three months later starting 
for Balmoral, wearing a bonnet of so frivolous a 
material as tulle, and looking in good spirits and 
excellent health. 

When she could get away from the centre of affairs 
and dispense with state without qualms of conscience 
she was happy ; but when she returned to England " all 
her depression was renewed." Theodore Martin had 
been living at Osborne all that summer, engaged on 
the Life of the Prince, and to him Victoria wrote of 
Scotland 

" Beloved country ! The Queen's whole heart 
yearns to it more and more, and it will be a sad 
day when she leaves it again." After her return, in 
another letter to him, she spoke of Windsor as the 
" gloomiest, saddest of places," the change to a cathe- 
dral church with its bells and clergy, to a garrison 
town and a Court she described as " dreadful " ; 
saying that she missed "the atmosphere of loving 
affection and the hearty attachment of the people." 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 97 

The very sentinel under her window she thought an 
annoyance. 1 

From which series of complaints it is easy to see 
that neither Windsor nor its people was at fault, but 
the Queen's most unfortunate state of mind. Clinging 
firmly to royalty, she yet despised all its ways, and 
punished her innocent subjects by lauding the simple, 
homely life of a country lady which she loved, as 
though they were the cause of her having occasionally 
to take her real position as a queen. She was quite 
an old woman before her mind grew healthier and she 
began to realize the real character of her English sub- 
jects, before she began to lose the blighting Germanic 
impressions about them almost indelibly pressed upon 
her by Prince Albert. That the English people re- 
sented her poor opinion and avoidance of them was 
only to be expected, but Victoria regarded their resent- 
ment as only a new proof of their unworthiness and 
inferiority to her Scotch peasants. 

During the next few dark years English newspapers 
recurred constantly to the popular desire for the 
Queen's favour, for her presence, for her recognition 
of the people's loyalty ; some, more impatient, openly 
declared that the country had no use for such a queen, 
that it was wrong to spend so much money for nothing. 
" Which is it to be ? " was the question under a double 
cartoon ; one side showing Victoria on her throne in the 
midst of animated people, some at work and others at 
play, and on the opposite page was the throne covered 
solely with state robes, and people vainly seeking work, 
1 Victoria as I Knew Her. By Sir Theodore Martin. 



or in a state of exhaustion. All this has been ignored 
by the mass of courtly biographers who have written 
" lives " of Victoria, who sing a prolonged song of 
praise, and pretend that the nation honoured her long 
seclusion as a beautiful ideal of devotion. But the 
truth is to be found in the daily papers of the period, 
and in the speeches both of members of Parliament 
and of leaders of revolution. 

Official attempts were made in July 1867 to explain 
her Majesty's continued absence from all public fes- 
tivities on the score of health, saying that agitation, 
over-worry or much talking in the evening would be 
followed by restless nights and distressing sick head- 
aches : " It is right to be known that her Majesty, with 
the greatest desire to fulfil all those duties which apper- 
tain to her dignity or her hospitality, is occasionally 
prevented from performing them by bodily suffering 
of a character most difficult to be borne." A sentence 
which, from its style, was obviously written by Victoria 
herself. 

This did not do much good, probably because the 
notice protested too much, for no one believed that 
Victoria was anxious to fulfil the duties in question. 
But there can be no doubt that she did suffer as de- 
scribed through nervousness, produced, not by over- 
excitement in itself, but by the constant seclusion which 
gave rise to a feeling of excitement when, on rare 
occasions, she did surround herself with people. 

She had in March of this year spent two days at 
Buckingham Palace, on one of which she had driven 
round Trafalgar Square to see the new lions, and had 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 99 

held a Court in the afternoon ; on the second she had 
gone to the studios of Henry Weekes and Patrick 
M'Dowell to see the groups being executed for the 
Albert Memorial. At the end of the month she was 
in London again for twenty-four hours, and held the 
first drawing-room of her widowhood. . . . Thus she 
had at least made an attempt to meet the wishes of her 
subjects. In the following year she held another 
drawing-room, this time of a more dignified character, 
as the invitations were for Buckingham Palace and not 
for St. James's. Of this function it was told that her 
Majesty's sense of decorum was shocked by the dress 
of one lady, and that she instructed her chamberlain 
to inform that guest that she was not to appear again 
at the palace in so low a dress. In July, too, she 
invited six hundred guests to a breakfast in the garden 
of Buckingham Palace, at which she was said to look 
remarkably well and to enjoy the party. 

There was a curious controversy, born of lack of 
usage, as to what garments were suitable for a break- 
fast held at 4.30 p.m. we now call them tea-parties 
and it ended in a command for morning trousers and 
evening coats, perhaps an attempt to accentuate the 
hour as between morning and night. One facetious 

writer declared that the Lord Chancellor had been 
reduced to studying Enquire Within upon Everything 
for guidance. 

In spite of these rare appearances, so gladly acknow- 
ledged by the Press, Victoria had no intention of 

laking a habit of hospitality, and discontent was by 
no means stamped out; her injudicious favouritism of 



100 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a Scotch servant also gave it new life, while altering 
its character in a disagreeable way. 

John Brown was the son of a humble farmer at 
Craithie, was gaunt in appearance, rough in manner, 
and spoke broad Doric. He had been gillie, or out- 
door boy, to Prince Albert at Balmoral in 1849, an ^ 
was taken on as permanent servant three years later. 
After her widowhood Victoria gave up riding for a 
time, and then, to relieve monotony, used a pony, 
John Brown being appointed to walk at its head. 
From that time he' was her Majesty's shadow; maybe 
because, in her entourage trained to meek obedience 
and quiet subservience, this uncouth and assertive 
Scotchman provided a certain piquancy to her dulness. 
She went nowhere without him, he stood behind her 
chair at table, drove on the box of her carriage, went 
abroad with her, and was by her side on every journey, 
short or long. He became a power in the palace, and 
was a far more important person than Sir John Cowell, 
the Master of the Household. 

In 1866 the Queen gave John Brown the title of 
Esquire, and Punch at once did his new position 
honour by including his name in an especial Court 
Circular 

" Balmoral. Tuesday. Mr. John Brown walked on 
the Slopes. He frequently partook of a haggis. In 
the evening Mr. John Brown was pleased to listen to 
the bagpipes. Mr. John Brown retired early." 

In the previous year when Victoria wrote to her 
daughter Alice that she should bring Brown with her 
on her visit to Germany, Alice replied, " How it will 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 101 

amuse and please me to show the excellent Scotchman 
our home. It is a pleasure to hear of such devotion 
and attention to you as Brown's is, and indeed you are 
so kind to him, that his whole happiness must consist 
in serving so good a mistress." 

Living at such a distance, Princess Alice could afford 
to write in this way; but had she lived under the 
Scotchman's shadow, as some of her sisters and 
brothers did, she might have been less cordial. John 
Brown was a republican in manners, uttering his 
opinions loudly before all, his royal mistress included, 
and in him she did not resent this. His advice was 
asked on all questions, whether family, private or 
public, and many a strong word has been smothered 
in a royal throat in exasperation thereat. As time went 
on Brown became more and more necessary to the 
Queen, and more and more overbearing to those with 
whom he came in contact. But his mistress showered 
favours on him and delighted to do him honour. 
Among one of his privileges was the sole right of 
fishing in the Dee, at a spot close to the Castle of 
Balmoral. 

One morning when he was busy with the salmon, a 
servant went to him, saying 

" Mr. Brown, her Majesty wishes you to go to her." 

"Weel, just tell her Majesty that A canna come; 
Ah'm juist hooking a feesh." 

A little later the servant went again; the Queen 
wanted to see him at once. 

''Weel, ye must tell her Majesty that A've juist 
hooked the saumun, and A canna come the noo." 



102 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

When Adelaide was queen she kept a little frigate 
on Virginia Water for family use, and Victoria con- 
ceived the idea of replacing it with something more 
useful and up to date. She, of course, consulted 
Brown, who asked her what was the good of fooling 
away so much money. Later her Majesty, still playing 
with the idea, suggested a steam launch, but her 
servant snubbed her with the same retort. At last, 
through some influence, the Admiralty provided a 
barge, at the public cost of 700, which gave Victoria 
a double pleasure. John Brown, however, still 
scowled, until told that the Admiralty had paid for 
it, whereupon he graciously ejaculated 

"Weel, if they like to fule awa' their money, o' 
course they can." 

It is said that the barge was never used by the Prince 
and Princess of Wales, as they would have had to 
ask permission of the Queen, which would have been 
tantamount to asking it of John Brown. 

Another perfectly authentic story, told by several 
people and among them by Neele, the superintendent 
of the Queen's train, who was on the platform at 
the time, is dated 1878. The Queen received a 
telegram on her way north, before reaching Perth, 
where breakfast was arranged for her in the usual 
waiting-room. From this telegram she learned that 
Princess Helena's week-old son was dead. As soon 
as the train drew up on the Perth platform, Brown 
swung himself off, and approaching the crowd of mag- 
nates who were waiting to receive her Majesty, cried 
in loud Doric 






SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 103 

" No cheering ! no cheering ! Christian's babby's 
dead ! " 

Brown is also credited with telling the Queen on 
more than one occasion that she did not know her own 
mind for two minutes together, a freedom which would 
have been allowed to no one else on earth. 

By 1867 John Brown's name was in every mouth, and 
such stories as the above were titbits of gossip, eagerly 
repeated. It was all so contrary to the Englishman's 
conception of his Queen, proud to a fault, coldly 
indifferent, punctilious in ceremony, that it gradually 
rose to a sensation, and the worser sort did not scruple 
to utter coarse jokes. This was commented upon by 
The Sunday Times, a paper at that period most annoy- 
ing to high persons for its outspokenness. Noting 
the general discontent with royalty, in a leader it 
continued 

: * This discontent is already making itself known by 
methods which we both disapprove and deplore. We 
have but little patience with sinister mendacity and 
still less with disgusting scandal. But the mendacity 
is not without meaning the scandal is not without 
significance. Almost every kind of unpleasant rumour 
is in circulation. Nobody believes the rumours, which 
yet find a ready currency. The explanation of this 
state of affairs is too easy to find. Unpleasant lies 
are invented and repeated and handed from mouth to 
mouth, because there is a strong inducement of dissatis- 
faction which is too earnest for silence and yet too 
timid for utterance. We abhor the trick, we deprecate 
and denounce it," 



104 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

A weekly illustrated paper, named The Tomahawk, 
published a cartoon that August, entitled, ' The 
Mystery of the Season," showing John Brown in 
Highland clothes, pipe in hand, leaning on the side 
of the throne chair, gazing down upon it thoughtfully, 
while the British lion stares up at him, waiting, like 
an expectant dog, for his word. 

Of Brown at this period the Queen herself wrote : 
" His attention, care and faithfulness cannot be ex- 
ceeded; and the state of my health, which of late 
years has been sorely tried and weakened, renders such 
qualifications most valuable, and indeed most needful, 
in a constant attendant upon all occasions. He has 
most deservedly been promoted to be an upper servant, 
and my permanent personal attendant. He has all the 
independence and elevated feelings peculiar to the 
Highland race, and is singularly straightforward, 
simple-minded, kind-hearted and disinterested; always 
ready to oblige; and of a discretion rarely to be met 
with." 

The only pity was that the Queen was herself so 
indiscreet in allowing a mere serving-man, or indeed 
any one, such liberty of speech as that claimed by John 
Brown a liberty far exceeding that which she allowed 
to her own children; her indiscretion was also shown 
in making her favouritism so publicly known among 
her English subjects, who felt that the superiority of 
the Highland character was too much insisted upon. 

From this time John Brown's name constantly ap- 
peared in print in a way flattering neither to him nor 
to her Majesty, for his influence increased as the years 



SUBJECTS IN REVOLT 105 

passed. He was known as one who was feared, not 
liked by his equals ; one who could not be opposed with 
impunity, who was strongly disliked by the Queen's 
children the Princess Royal being the only one who 
dared to say openly to her mother what she thought 
about him and his position who knew many secrets, 
and who was charged occasionally by the Queen with 
delicate and secret missions. 

In June 1870 The Tomahawk published another car- 
toon of him, called " The Vacant Chair," showing John 
Brown about to seat himself upon the Prince Consort's 
empty throne. Before July had elapsed the paper had 
ceased to exist, and Matt Morgan, its editor, had re- 
ceived a large bribe to exercise his talents on the other 
side of the Atlantic. 

That the Queen's family and relatives occasionally 
joined in the remonstrance offered her concerning her 
ivoidance of her subjects is shown by the last words 
ittered about her by King Leopold 

' Pauvre Victoria ! ne la tormentez." 



CHAPTER VIII 

TWO PRIME MINISTERS 

"You forget, my dearest love, that I am the Sovereign, and 
that business can stop and wait for nothing. Parliament is 
sitting, and something occurs almost every day for which I may 
be required, and it is quite impossible for me to be absent from 
London, therefore two or three days is already a long time to be 
absent." Queen Victoria's Letter to Prince Albert. 1840. 

" We know we say how very good our Queen is, 

And what a manager and what a mother ! 
But though all this so very plainly seen is, 

We cannot quite our discontentment smother. 
Her virtues we admire, but what we mean is, 

Of two moves she should choose the one or t'other; 
The one is coming out amongst the nation, 
The other going in for abdication." 

Contemporary verse. 1868. 

OF the men who held the exalted post of Prime 
Minister during the last forty years of Queen Victoria's 
reign, the two most notable were Gladstone and 
Disraeli. They were in almost every way in extreme 
opposition to each other, and they had a profound 
dislike for each other. Gladstone's dislike was down- 
right and caustic, and Disraeli's sarcastic and suave. 
Gladstone had intellectual depth, Disraeli was super- 
ficial and brilliant; the one was devoted to ruling an 
improved England, the other to wielding Imperial 
power; the first found his greatest pleasure in living 
with the old Greek writers, notably Homer, the other 

106 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 107 

in writing graceful and satirical novels. Their points 
. of agreement belonged purely to their external life. 
They were both faithful lovers and both won the 
adoration of their wives. Mrs. Gladstone, once known 
as "the beautiful Catherine Glynn," was in her age 
once heard at a royal concert discoursing upon her 
married happiness, and concluded with the remark, 
" But perhaps, my dear, you don't know what it is to 
have an affectionate husband ! " She also once spoke 
of her husband as "surrounded with a halo of 
humility." But a beautiful story is that of a clergy- 
man calling to see Gladstone, and being entertained 
by Mrs. Gladstone until her husband, who was writing 
upstairs, was disengaged. The visitor lamented the 
terrible state of affairs in Ireland, but added con- 
solingly 

I" There is One above who will set all right." 
"Oh yes," said Mrs. Gladstone; "he'll be down 
rectly ! " 
Disraeli married Mrs. Wyndham Lewis, who was 
e widow of a friend, and fifteen years older than 
himself. He would tell her in joke that he had 
married her for money, but she would only smile 
and say, " But if you had to do it again you would do 
it for love"; to which he would agree. She called 
him, as many other people did, " Dizzy," and he spoke 
of her as Mary Anne. It was a case in which the 
quality of protectiveness was exercised by the wife, 
for Mrs. Disraeli stood ever between her husband and 
trouble, and counted herself as nothing. She was 
once driving to the House with him, when her hand 






108 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

got crushed in the carriage door, but she bore the 
pain silently, smilingly, for fear knowledge of the 
accident should distract his mind from the important 
speech he was about to make. She was more dis- 
criminating than Mrs. Gladstone, perhaps because 
she had a strong sense of humour, and she once said 
to a friend, " Dizzy has the most wonderful moral 
courage in the world, but no physical courage. When 
he has a shower-bath, I always have to pull the 
string." 

Certainly in their home lives both the Gladstones 
and the Disraelis came well up to the Queen's ideal 
of perfection. Gladstone once, staying at Windsor, 
was talking to a colleague on serious political ques- 
tions, when a slight noise was heard through an open 
door, much to the horror of the colleague. 

" Never mind/' said Gladstone ; " it is only my wife. 
For forty years she has heard me discuss matters 
of State, but never once has anything come back to 
me." 

Gladstone had come naturally to a parliamentary 
life, but Disraeli, hampered by his race and compara- 
tive poverty, had had to fight for it from the beginning. 
It is said that when he saw the first caricature of him- 
self he jumped for joy, declaring that now his career 
was made. As a boy of fourteen he had been chris- 
tianized, but he never really changed his religious 
beliefs, and for that reason could fight equally well 
on any side of Christian dispute. Yet he had once 
said, " You will see many things, but there are two 
which you will never not see me a Jew and a Radical.' 




W. K. GLADSTONE 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 109 

When Darwinism was first discussed he thought it 
politic to condemn it in a speech at Oxford. 

" What is the question ? " he asked. " It is now 
placed before society with, I might say, a glib assur- 
ance which to me is astonishing the question is, is 
man an ape or an angel ? (A laugh.) Now, I am on 
the side of the angels. (Cheers.)" This saying has 
become a " familiar quotation " ; Punch fastened on it 
thus 

"On the side of the angels, my Dizzy? ah, then, 

How happy the angels should be ! 

The ally whom they least could have looked for of men, 
In their army enlisted to see ! " 

Of the two men politically no one can doubt which 
Victoria preferred. The Prince Consort had once said 
of the Liberal, " Mr. Gladstone is a very clever man, 
and as he was educated at Oxford, he is able to believe 
anything he chooses." 1 And, with her subservient 
regard for the lightest word of the Prince, the Queen 
accepted this libel upon an honest statesman. Glad- 
stone was also too subtle and intellectual for her, she 
could not understand him, always feeling irritated at 
the end of an interview, probably for the same reason 
that a Liberal once gave for his dislike of the Minister, 
" Oh, he is always so damnably right." 

Gladstone regarded Victoria with the deepest 
loyalty and respect, both personally and because he 
felt the Crown to be sacred; he accepted to their 
fulness the assertions that she studied every question 

1 Notes from a Diary. By the Right Hon. Sir Mountstuart 
Grant Duff. 



110 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

put before the country, and would go into details 
in explanation of his views, which she could not 
follow; and once she said petulantly after he was 
gone, " He talks to me as though I were a public 
meeting." 

Disraeli, on the contrary, spoke a little on politics, 
told her some amusing stories, discussed intricate 
German relationships and German art, found occasion 
to make her laugh and to impress her with her high 
importance. He had no scruples either about the use 
of flattery. " First of all remember," he said to a 
colleague who was going out to Baden with the Queen, 
" that she is a woman ! " This and his charming 
manner give the secret of his ascendancy over Victoria; 
she was what we now call a mid-Victorian woman, and 
her Conservative adviser realized it and treated her 
with the chivalrous air and the banalities which were 
then regarded as the correct thing for the " inferior 
sex." So Disraeli's gaiety delighted her, his deference 
soothed her wounded self-respect, and his flattery 
confirmed her belief that all she did was right. She 
took him into her confidence and gave him a definite 
part in her life, and he was nearly at the height of 
his ambition; not quite, for there was one little thing 
still to achieve. 

Gladstone's deep respect and sincere loyalty were 
to her but the dues of her position; that he did not 
accompany them with an equally deep interest in the 
small things of her life was an offence, and it would 
have utterly surprised him to know that she said of 
him that he showed "little interest" and was "very 






Ill 



helpless " in her personal affairs. She is not the only 
one who has preferred as a friend one who could 
sympathize with her own point of view rather than 
one who was absorbed in her matters of business. 

This power for sympathy was the secret of Victoria's 
friendship for Dr. Norman Macleod. In her diary, 
under date June 17, 1866, when she was indignant at 
the discontent of her English people, she wrote of the 
clergyman 

" He was so amiable and full of sympathy ; he also 
surfers much from constant work and worry and must 
go abroad for relaxation. Told him how much I 
required it and that I came here for it, and had had 
a hard fight for it. He said he quite felt this, and 
entreated me ' as you work for us ' always to insist 
upon coming here." 

There have been many theories for Victoria's dislike 
of Gladstone, but they all resolve themselves into 
incompatibility of manner and outlook, and a dislike 
for his politics. This double dislike she never hid, 
often giving it public expression, and at his death 
many stories were revived about actual personal dis- 
courtesies offered, such as keeping him waiting hours 
when he was summoned for an audience, while she 
went out for a drive or otherwise followed her usual 
routine, and refusing to speak to him if she met him 
anywhere. That Gladstone never allowed this to 
influence his policy angered her the more, and he, 
speaking in his age of their strained relations, said 
that from his first entrance to Windsor to his last 
there had been occasions when he had had to harden 



112 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

his heart to a flint, for his actions had always been 
"sole"; that is to say, he had been working for a 
principle and had had to resist all the Queen's efforts 
to shake him from it. 

She loved the brave show, the splendid outside 
fabric, the imperialistic ideas which characterized 
Disraeli, and had little appreciation of the solid 
building work which opposed Gladstone to him. It 
was enough that the former wanted to extend her 
empire. Gladstone had no interest in that; he had 
his mind upon the people, and saw that if a revolution 
was to be avoided the ills of Ireland must be cured, 
not accentuated by suppression; that if the Queen 
was to be maintained firmly upon her throne the 
English must be given the franchise reform that they 
demanded. Victoria, obsessed by her conviction of 
divine right, could not see these things at all. 

So it was very much to her annoyance that in March 
1866, when Prussia was getting ready for its swoop 
on Austria, she saw Gladstone bring in a Reform Bill. 
She wanted all her attention for continental happen- 
ings, and when she realized that her ministers intended 
to make this Bill the great measure of the session, and 
also that it would be a very contentious measure, she 
declared that it could not possibly be regarded as 
of sufficient importance to be allowed to upset the 
Government. She plainly told Lord John Russell 
that, whatever happened to his Franchise Bill, she 
would allow no change in the Ministry until the 
Austro- Prussian war was settled. In return her 
Cabinet begged her to stay at Windsor through May | 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 113 

while the debates were progressing, that she might be 
at hand if a crisis arose. 

Her answer was that she intended to go to Balmoral 
as usual, and she expected the Government to allow 
no crisis to occur. 

So while the House was in the midst of an energetic 
struggle, Victoria left England to follow her pleasant 
but mild occupations in the Highlands : driving, 
riding, sketching, visiting hallowed spots, and hearing 
sympathetic words from Dr. Macleod. But her com- 
mand could not control the conflict of six hundred 
men, and in the middle of June the Government was 
defeated by eleven votes, causing a tremendous scene 
of ebullient joy among the Tories. 

Victoria was extremely "provoked," and said she 
was taken entirely by surprise. Had she been what 
it is so often claimed that she was a truly constitu- 
tional sovereign, no surprise could have fallen upon 
her; it was her unconscious tendency to absolute 
monarchy which had made her believe that it was only 
necessary for her to speak to be obeyed. Lord John 
Russell was then very old, and felt that he had done 
his last public work; the journey to Balmoral was too 
much for him to contemplate, so he sent his resigna- 
tion by messenger, which also displeased the Queen. 

While she was in Scotland monster Reform meet- 
ings were held in all large towns, and yet she wrote 
back to Russell that the state of Europe was danger- 
ous, the country was apathetic about reform, and it 
was inconsistent with the duty that ministers owed 
herself and the country to abandon their posts on what 



114 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

was, after all, only a matter of detail. She desired 
them to reconsider their decision. The Cabinet met 
to do as she wished, but found that the only plan was 
resignation. Victoria returned to Windsor nine days 
after the ministerial defeat, and it was another nine 
days before Lord Derby was sent for and accepted 
office, with Disraeli as his foremost man. The people 
of London rose in turbulence at the death of Reform, 
and a great crowd surrounded Gladstone's house one 
day when he was not there. Fearing a riot, the police 
begged Mrs. Gladstone to appear for one minute on 
the balcony to satisfy them, and then the people 
dispersed. 

It is curious in this struggle between Queen and 
Parliament, and in later ones, to contrast Victoria's 
action in leaving the country without a Government 
for eighteen days, and going to Balmoral for a month 
when a great crisis was expected, with her youthful 
sentiments which head this chapter. 

It was in July this year that a five days' battle took 
place in Hyde Park between the police and an army 
of roughs, who took advantage of the Reform agita- 
tion to do as they pleased; and then were broken 
down those Hyde Park railings about which so much 
has been heard of late years. 

The whole world seemed awry, for in addition to 
wars abroad and rows at home Ireland was being 
filled with money, pikeheads and Irish-Americans to 
fight England, and the Habeas Corpus Act had to 
be suspended. It was done in somewhat peculiar 
circumstances, there being great anxiety to conclude 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 115 

the matter before the end of the week. The Queen 
was at Osborne, and to her on the Saturday a telegram 
was sent for her assent. The members remained in 
the House until midnight, and then, as the answer 
had not arrived, dispersed. At 12.30 that is, on 
Sunday morning a messenger came with the assent, 
and the House was convoked, and though not fifty 
men were present the new law was promulgated, in 
spite of the law against Sunday legislation. 

Disraeli had done his utmost to turn Russell's 
Government out on Reform, and had succeeded; he 
himself, finding the " apathetic " public too eager and 
vociferous to let him drop that measure, determined 
to " dish the Whigs " and bring in a Reform Bill of 
his own. He was afraid, though, that the Opposition 
would retaliate in kind, so, with the Queen's consent, 
tried to arrange that the fate of his Government should 
not be allowed to depend on his bill. It was a cry 
of " Heads I win, tails you lose ! " which did not 
please the Liberals. He had once said of Peel that 
he had found the Whigs bathing and had walked away 
with their clothes; in this case Disraeli had helped 
the Liberals to undress for the plunge and had then 
walked off with their garments. 

He relied upon the" Adullamites," so called because 
they were Liberals who dissented from Gladstone's 
bill, and whom Bright likened to the enemies of Saul 
who hid with David in the Cave of Adullam. These, 
however, instead of joining Disraeli, ran away shiver- 
ing when he said " Reform," upon which Gladstone 
uttered an eleventh commandment : " Thou shalt not 



116 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

commit Adullamy." When the new bill, torn to pieces, 
reversed, its black made white and its white black, 
was at last passed, Lowe, the chief of the Adullamites, 
piously made the best of events by saying of the new 
voters, " We must now educate our masters." 

As to Fenianism, it is too long a tale. The Fenians 
thought to capture Chester Castle, they rescued 
prisoners in Manchester, and unintentionally killed 
a policeman, which led to the hanging of three men 
who were by no means proved to have been the 
assassins; in dastard callousness they blew up a part 
of Clerkenwell Prison, killing many innocent people; 
and they threatened to kidnap the Queen, an idea 
which tickled her Majesty wonderfully, who declared, 
laughing, that they would find her a very troublesome 
prisoner. But every one felt that she was in real 
danger, and on her return from Balmoral that autumn 
her advisers ordered a Scotch regiment to accompany, 
under arms, the royal train from Ballater to Carlisle, 
a regiment of footguards being sent to the latter place 
to go with the train to Windsor. However, the Queen 
would have none of it; she saw wisely that such a 
course would mean visible public division between 
herself and her people, so she resolutely refused to 
sanction the arrangement, saying that she felt the 
fullest confidence in her people. 

It had often been urged that the Queen or the 
Prince of Wales should have a house in Ireland, but 
unfortunately this was never brought about, though at 
this time a report spread through the sister isle that 
the Prince and Princess intended to spend a portion 




TWO PRIME MINISTERS 117 

of each year there, and that her Majesty would go 
to Killarney in 1867. It was not, however, till April 
1868 that Albert Edward and Alexandra paid the 
promised visit, and then the Irish people, jealous, 
passionate and generous, met them with cheers, pre- 
sented the Princess with two white doves which later 
found a home at Sandringham and themselves kept 
the streets of Dublin free from confusion, no troops 
appearing at all; which is a tribute, not only to the 
Irish, but to the courage of the royalties. 

Prince Arthur, who went there a year later, did not 
fare quite so well. He was young and injudicious, 
and identified himself far too much with the Orange 
faction, so that enthusiasm died. After going to 
Dublin, Killarney and Belfast he went on to London- 
derry, and the night of his arrival a sharp collision 
took place between the triumphing Protestants and 
the embittered Roman Catholics, in which two men 
were killed. This led to an unforgettable incident at 
Cork. In 1868 Prince Alfred had made a tour in 
Australia, which almost ended tragically, for while at 
a public breakfast at Port Jackson he was shot in 
the back by a Fenian named O'Farrell. The ball 
entered near the spine and ran round the body without 
touching any vital part. The Prince recovered; 
O'Farrell it was who died by hanging. The Queen 
was in deep distress, weeping at any mention of it, 
and so she feared greatly while her younger son was 
in Ireland. 

At Cork two prisoners, Costello and Colonel 
Warren, having been released, were given a dinner 



118 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

before starting for America by the mayor of the town, 
a man named O' Sullivan, who made a long speech, 
in many respects temperate, but at the end alluding 
to the presence of the young prince in their land; 
and then, reverting to the Fenians, he declared that 
O'Farrell, who had shot the Duke of Edinburgh, was 
a noble and patriotic man. 

Prince Arthur returned quite safely to England, 
but Victoria was more than ever embittered against 
Ireland, and a great depression fell upon her for her- 
self and her family, in no way relieved by the demand 
in Parliament that the Mayor of Cork should be sus- 
pended from his functions; he, however, solved the 
difficulty by resigning. 

Disraeli became Prime Minister in the spring of 
1868. He was sixty-four years old, and had worked 
for this position all his life against tremendous odds, 
but he had conquered all; and now, having attained, 
he quickly secured a position of confidential trust 
given to no other man. Moncure Conway said of 
him : there is " something so picturesque in a Jewish 
lad bringing the royal family and the aristocracy to 
his feet. He has done it, too, in the wise and 
gentle ways of Solomon, by unbroken civility and 
friendliness." 

So "the solitary gladiator," as Punch once called 
him, ended at last his long, lonely struggle and became 
first man in England. There was much chaff and the 
recrudescence of many stories, one of which lived 
longer than himself. In 1862 he had made a speech 
in which he said that he " observed that there was a 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 119 

great deficiency in our national character, and which, 
if neglected, might lead to the impairing not only of 
our social happiness, but even the sources of our public 
wealth; and that was a deficiency of culture. But he 
was not satisfied in detecting, he resolved to supply 
it." Ever afterwards Dizzy's intention to educate the 
nation was a subject for joking. 

His great position was his but for a short time, his 
Ministry being defeated over the second serious 
measure brought forward Gladstone's Irish Church 
Bill. Sydney Smith had thus described the condition 
of the State Church in Ireland at the time 

" On an Irish Sabbath the bell of a neat parish 
church often summons to church only the parson and 
an occasional conforming clerk, while two hundred 
yards away a thousand Catholics are huddled together 
in a miserable hovel and pelted by all the storms of 
heaven." 

For this unwanted and unused Church the Irish 
peasant had to pay, and Gladstone saw here one 
method of reducing Irish grievance and doing justice 
to Irish need. His bill was to abolish the State Church 
in Ireland. The country was with him, the Queen 
against him. She was the head of the Church, and 
to interfere with that institution was to aim a blow at 
her prerogative. 

Disraeli fought with all his might, but he was 
defeated twice, by majorities of sixty-one and sixty- 
five. What was he to do ? It was death to his hopes, 
to his long-coveted eminence. He determined to con- 
sult his best friend, not his wife but in this case the 



120 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Queen, and he did it without first talking the matter 
over with his colleagues, which made them very wroth. 
He advised her Majesty to dissolve Parliament, think- 
ing that the country would surely return him; or, he 
added as an afterthought, she might prefer to appoint 
a new Ministry. 

It broke the Queen's heart to part with her pleasant, 
gossipy minister, she shuddered at the thought of 
having to labour again under the taskmaster Glad- 
stone, and she took a day to consider the question; 
after which she decided upon a dissolution which was 
not to take place until the autumn, when the new 
Reform Bill would come into operation. 

Then Disraeli had to explain the decision to the 
House; not at all, even for his imperturbable self, a 
pleasant task; and in his trepidation that may not 
sound the right word, but it is the only one which 
adequately explains his method of doing it he put 
the burden of the decision upon the shoulders of the 
Queen. The Prime Minister's only constitutional 
course after such a defeat would have been to resign 
and let matters develop; he had no right to put two 
ways before the Queen and make her responsible for 
a certain line of policy, to expose her to the anger 
and distrust of a nation demanding justice. If 
Victoria had been a statesman she would have realized 
this, and have refused to allow Disraeli to use her 
partiality for him to keep him in power. 

There was naturally a great and acrimonious dis- 
cussion in the House, Disraeli being described as "a 
suffering minister who was holding office by the wish 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 121 

of the Queen for the benefit of the people." Mr. 
Bright denounced the great injury he had done the 
Crown " by representing the Queen in the character 
of an enemy in the cause of religious freedom. . . . 
Any man who puts the sovereign in the front of a 
great struggle like this, who points to the Irish people 
and says from the floor of this house, ' Your Queen 
holds the flag under which we, the enemies of religious 
equality and justice to Ireland, are marshalled ' I 
say that the minister who does that is guilty of a very 
high crime and a great misdemeanour against his 
sovereign and against his country." It was reported 
that the Prime Minister, in a somewhat pointless speech, 
entirely lost his temper and shook his fist at Bright. 

The Duke of Richmond in the Lords did not make 
matters better, as he bluntly stated that the Queen 
had refused to accept the resignation of her minister, 
and had given him the freedom of dissolving Parlia- 
ment when he chose. 

All this was unfortunate for the Queen's peace of 
mind; not that she repented showing so much favour 
to Disraeli, or even believed that she had exceeded 
the power which the Constitution laid down for her; 
but because she was still unpopular, still the subject 
of intense criticism, having met her people solely by 
paying a very occasional one, two or three days' visit 
to London during the year. Thus her name was still 
prominent in a sinister fashion, and her flight to 
Scotland immediately after her interview with Disraeli 
roused deep indignation. She did not, in popular 
words, stay to face the music. Though messengers 



122 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

were sent to Balmoral every day, immediate communi- 
cation with her was impossible, and it was felt that, 
whatever her virtues, she definitely put her pleasure 
before the country's needs. The outcry was loud 
enough to necessitate an announcement that her 
"journey to Scotland had been undertaken solely in 
consequence of her health." 

This, having been heard often before, and Victoria's 
appearance, when she was seen, being generally one 
of robustness, gave a turn to public criticism which 
was menacing. It was hinted by some and frankly 
stated by other newspapers that if her Majesty was 
ill the malady must be mental as well as physical. 
Contrasts were drawn between her appearance and 
" the thin, pale face of the gentle princess who had 
so long nobly borne the fatigues of a vicarious queen." 
The Tory Press more or less contented itself with 
the advantage its party had gained, the Liberal Press 
was more outspoken, the Sunday papers spoke yet 
more openly, and, needless to say, The Tomahawk 
went to the extreme 

" We confess we are, with extreme reluctance, com- 
pelled to arrive at the conclusion that her Majesty 
has no longer the power, however earnest be her desire 
or strong her determination, to endure the strain in- 
separable from her high office, and which she has in 
former years so ably fulfilled. If three weeks is the 
longest period which she is able to spend in the 
Imperial capital each year, if all the functions which 
the Head of the Realm should discharge have to be 
vicariously discharged by the Heir Apparent and his 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 123 

Consort, it is evidently for the true interest and well- 
being of the Queen as well as of the nation that a 
Regency Bill should be passed as soon as possible. 
Six years is a long probation, and if the energies of 
the Queen are still so overwhelmed by her great sorrow 
as to affect materially the discharge of her important 
duties, it is surely far more considerate towards both 
the Sovereign and the woman that she should be 
relieved from the distressing weight which the un- 
avoidable neglect of such duties must occasion to her 
sensitive and conscientious nature. At present her 
Majesty cannot but feel the deepest regret that, 
through her own infirmities, so much inconvenience 
and loss of time should be inflicted on her ministers 
in carrying on any communication with her during this 
very urgent crisis, and cannot but resent acutely the 
faintest hint of a suspicion that her absence is owing 
to any want of courage or self-denial." 

The article then set out the qualities of the Prince 
of Wales for the post of Regent, his zeal, courage, 
detachment from politics, knowledge of foreign 
countries, etc., and then pointed out how, "released 
from the ties of ceremonial duties, relieved from a 
sense of continual disappointment and vexation, and 
purged from all suspicions, however ungenerous, our 
beloved Queen will be able to enjoy an honourable 
retirement, cheered by the undimmed affection of her 
subjects. . . . She will be able to revel in the con- 
genial solitudes of Osborne and Balmoral without any 
reproach, and to devote her leisure time to any pursuits 
which her inclination may select." 



124 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

These sentiments were repeated elsewhere. A 
member of Parliament named Reardon gave notice 
in May that he should address this question to the 
House: "Whether it be true that her Majesty the 
Queen has been compelled through delicate health to 
retire from England during the remainder of this 
session; and if so, whether it is the intention of her 
Majesty's Government, out of consideration to her 
Majesty's health, comfort and tranquillity, and in 
the interest of the royal family and of her Majesty's 
subjects throughout the empire, and especially of this 
metropolis, to advise her Majesty to abdicate." 

This question raised cries of " Order ! " and much 
indignation, but that it could be asked at all was a 
notable sign of the feeling of the time. 

That Queen Victoria was not in very good health 
is more than probable. Her adjustment to the lonely 
circumstances of her widowhood was not really com- 
plete, she was determined to walk only by the rule 
she had laid down for herself in the first days, and 
it was no easy matter always to judge what the Prince 
would have done. So, distrusting her own decisions, 
she was ever feeling after the ideas of another, with 
the result that her nerves were over sensitive, and any 
disturbance of the usual produced headache. The 
crisis in the Government was quite enough to upset 
her. 

This August the Queen made the first of her visits 
abroad under the name of the Duchess of Kent, going 
to Switzerland, and accepting from Louis Napoleon 
the loan of his train through France. On her return 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 125 

she went to Balmoral, and spent part of her Highland 
visit in a new house which she had built for herself : 
" the widow's first house, not built by him, or hallowed 
by his memory." She called it the Glassalt Shiel, 
and it was in a wild and lonely country, at one end 
of Loch Miuck, the other three sides being bounded 
within a few hundred yards by rocky mountains. She 
regarded this place as in full keeping with her con- 
dition, and there she could be quite away from all 
Court and State requirements. It is not to be won- 
dered at that, while she was in such a morbid state 
of mind, there were people who thought she would 
be happier dissociated from the active work of govern- 
ing. She remained in the north until late in Novem- 
ber, and only returned in time to take leave of her 
ministers, for the Liberals had a majority of 128 at 
the elections. Seeing what a crushing defeat it was, 
Disraeli refused to meet Parliament again, and at 

Cice resigned office. 
The Queen offered him a baronetcy, which he re- 
sed, and then, to show her appreciation of him, she 
bestowed upon Mrs. Disraeli the title of Viscountess 
Beaconsfield, an honour which touched his heart in 
its tenderest spot. Disraeli was said to be the first 
Prime Minister without armorial bearings, and the 
heralds had to supply a coat-of-arms. When he read 
the description and found the words, " Supporters 
gorged," he remarked 

" Now that is absurd ! I have done my best to 
stuff my supporters, but I could never appease their 
hunger, much less gorge them. If it is heraldic, my 






126 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

dear, let our supporters be described as voracious, 
not gorged." 

When subsequently a telegram was brought to 
Gladstone from the Queen it was taken to him into 
the park, where he was felling a tree, with Evelyn 
Ashley holding his coat. He went on with his work 
for a little, then, resting on the handle of his axe, 
said with deep earnestness 

" My mission is to appease Ireland." 1 

Mr. Bright, once so anti-royal, was persuaded to 
join the new Cabinet, which gave pleasure to the 
Queen, for she believed in his sincerity, and on the 
last Saturday of the year he was invited to dine and 
sleep at Windsor and to receive the seals of office. 
Victoria, with that kindly carefulness which charac- 
terized her when she had to meet people, allowed him 
to modify his Court dress by omitting the sword, in 
accordance with his Quaker principles, and it was 
intimated to him that she wished him to omit any part 
of the ceremonial which was repugnant to his con- 
science. He had replied that he objected to kneeling, 
so when her Majesty gave him the seals she held out 
her hand, saying 

" Mr. Bright, we dispense with the kneeling." 

Mr. Ward Hunt, who had been Chancellor of the 
Exchequer in Disraeli's Cabinet, had not asked or 
wished to be exempt from kneeling before his Queen ; 
and as he was six feet four inches high, weighing 
twenty stones, he made an astonishing figure, being 
taller than Victoria even in that attitude. 

1 Life of Gladstone. By John Morley. 




BENJAMIN DISRAELI 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 127 

One picturesque and turbulent figure passed away 
this year definitely from the councils of England, and 
this was Henry Brougham, who died in his sleep at 
the Villa Eleanor, Cannes, at the age of ninety, his 
last mania having been the collection of hymns. When 
Lord Derby took office after the death of Palmerston, 
Brougham made his last appearance on the political 
stage, coming into the House with Lord John Russell 
and Lord Derby, all three looking very broken and old. 

After Disraeli's interview with Victoria at the last 
Privy Council Meeting of his Government he was 
seen to come out of the royal closet in great excite- 
ment, and Lord Malmesbury, who met and spoke to 
him, was pushed aside, with the words 

" Don't bring any more bothers before me ; I have 
enough already to drive a man mad." 

The trouble was that the Archbishop of Canterbury 
had inconsiderately died, and the Premier wished to 
appoint Dr. Colenso in his place. The Queen, how- 
ever, had already chosen the man, Archibald Campbell 
Tait, to whom good fortune had come through mis- 
fortune. For when, in less elevated clerical rank, he 
had lost five children at once by scarlet fever, and this 
was brought to the Queen's notice, she strove to com- 
pensate him by inducing Palmerston to give him the 
Bishopric of Carlisle. The next step was to make 
him Bishop of London, and now, again over the heads 
of his seniors, he received the highest ecclesiastical 
post in the kingdom, which was considered by many 
as an injustice, induced by sentiment. 

Victoria, though having no great regard for the 



128 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

office of bishop, was extremely keen upon choosing 
all bishops herself, and she made her choice generally 
with a frank disregard of rule or right, her standard 
being simplicity, lack of rhetoric and ceremonial; to 
this was added the factor of personal liking on her 
part. It was thus that Wilberforce, Stanley and 
Bradley were raised to high honours. 

In February 1869, deploring the introduction of 
the discussion on the Irish Church and lamenting the 
loss of Disraeli, Victoria refused to open Parliament, 
on the score of ill health, and she passed the session 
in great tribulation of spirit over the bill. Hoping 
to secure compromise, she invoked the advice of the 
Bishop of Peterborough, and wrote on February 12, 
1869, to Gladstone that she strongly deprecated the 
hasty introduction of the measure, which would serve 
only to commit the Government to proposals from 
which they could not recede, " while it is certain, from 
what the bishop says, that they would not be accepted 
on the other side." The bill was, however, read the 
third time, with a majority of 114. 

In face of this it was little use fighting, save for 
modification, and her Majesty continued to take daily 
interest in the progress of the bill ; yet at the fiercest 
point of the struggle, when the Lords, taking up the 
Die-hard attitude, were trying to destroy it by intro- 
ducing sixty-one amendments, and incidentally to 
weaken their own power, she went to Scotland. 

" How much more effectually could the Queen assist 
in the settlement of this question if she were not six 
hundred miles off," wrote Gladstone. 



TWO PRIME MINISTERS 129 

On the first reading Tait voted against it, but 
Wilberforce gave his vote for it, whereupon some one 
said 

' The Bishop of Oxford is going the wrong way." 

" No," replied Lord Chelmsford ; " he is going the 
road to Winchester." 

There was much strong language in the higher 
House, Lord Winchelsea offering to lay his head on 
the block rather than accede, Gladstone being labelled 
Jack Cade, and Lord Grey becoming so violent that 
the Duke of Argyll fastened upon him the now famous 
title of " the chartered libertine of debate." 

The Commons refused the amendments, the Lords 
refused conciliation, and at last even Disraeli 1 was 
alarmed and thoroughly frightened at the state of 
the political parties and the country, for it was felt 
that the Lords were in imminent danger. The Queen, 
from a distance, worked hard writing to every one, 
pointing out ways of agreement and appealing to Tait 
to induce the bishops to avoid pushing matters to 
extremes. It was Lord Cairns who eventually linked 
the dissentient parties and secured an agreement. 
Though the Queen disliked the bill extremely she 
eventually saw that the country demanded it, and she 
feared more than the bill a conflict between the two 
Houses, such as would inevitably injure the House of 
Lords. Thus she hailed with relief the agreement 
which secured the passage of the bill and saved the 
Lords intact. 

1 Memorandum by Sir Robert Phillimore. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE BELOVED GERMANY 

" There will be no kingdom for our son unless you fight 
Germany." Eugenie to Louis Napoleon. 1870. 

" What swine ! They are full of vexation and envy because 
we have fought great battles here and won them. They cannot 
bear to think that shabby little Prussia should prosper so. The 
Prussians are a people which should merely exist in order to 
carry on war for them in their pay. That is the view taken by 
all the upper classes in England. They have never been well 
disposed towards us, and have always done their utmost to 
injure us. ... The Crown Princess herself is an incarnation of 
this way of thinking. She is full of her own great condescension 
in marrying into our country. I remember her once telling me 
that two or three merchant families in Liverpool had more silver 
plate than the entire Prussian nobility. ' Yes,' I replied, ' that 
is possible, your Royal Highness, but we value ourselves for 
other things besides silver plate.' " Prince Bismarck on 
England. 1870. 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S fiftieth birthday was spent at 
Balmoral, where the Scotch peasants and servants were 
given every opportunity of rejoicing; the Queen 
herself principally observing the day by bestowing 
the Garter upon Prince Leopold and the Order of the 
Thistle on Prince Arthur. 

On her return from the north the Khedive of Egypt 
was in London, and it was a sign that Victoria was 
regaining, however slowly, a normal state of mind, 

that she invited him to stay at Windsor, held a review 

130 






THE BELOVED GERMANY 131 

for him in Windsor Great Park, and stayed a night at 
Buckingham Palace that she might be present at a 
breakfast or garden party given in his honour. At 
this function the wind was bitterly cold, causing the 
gorgeous refreshment tents and the drawing-room tent 
to be crowded, while every one was admiring or 
criticizing the way in which the Prince of Wales and 
about thirty of his friends had at last solved the knotty 
question of how to dress for such an occasion. Blue 
coats with brass buttons were the choice, a fashion 
which, if odd in itself, was better than the earlier 
impecunious-waiter mode of evening coats and morn- 
ing trousers. Later in the week there was a great 
review at Aldershot, and then the Prince of Wales 
sped the departing guest from Charing Cross, and 
the Egyptian visitor was this time really gratified by 
the royal attention shown him. 

The one public event in which the Queen took part 
in 1869 was tne opening of Blackfriars Bridge and 
the Holborn Viaduct, and this she did with all the 
outward observance of full state, the first time the 
state coach had been out since her widowhood. The 
people, anxious to let her know what they could do, 
showed tremendous enthusiasm in their welcome, and 
though there was an undercurrent of darkness and 
anxiety, it was kept hidden from royal eyes. 

The workless population of London and there 
were many thousands decided to descend in a mass 
upon the route and exhibit themselves in all their 
wretched poverty before their sovereign; but their 
intention became known, and the influence of the 



132 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

trade unions was invoked to prevent this. The 
Fenians, too, had their scheme of upsetting the 
harmony of the day, a placard being sent out bearing 
the following awful inscription 

"To all Fenians. 
Vive la Republique ! 

The Queen will visit the City in state on Saturday, 
and on that day she will be shot. She seldom gives a 
chance. The opportunity won't be lost. 

God save Ireland ! 

Shirley Brooks, in relating the fact, added, " I 
hope the beast who wrote it will be bitten by a mad 
dog." 

Each year of the Queen's reign seems to have 
brought its own big event or anxiety. The anxiety 
was accentuated by the fact that her opinions had 
become definitely crystallized into conservatism, and 
her Governments were so far generally Liberal. The 
great event of 1870 was the Franco-German War, but 
there were minor troubles to endure. There was 
Gladstone's Irish Land Bill, which aimed at giving 
to all Ireland the " tenant rights " which had never 
been filched from Ulster, and the retention of which 
has been the secret of the success of North Ireland. 
This Bill she liked no better than the Irish Church 
Bill. 

Her energetic Government raised another question 
which was personally offensive to her, and that con- 
cerned the sleepy ways of her cousin, George of 
Cambridge, the commander-in-chief, and she found 
herself obliged to play a losing hand over the right 



THE BELOVED GERMANY 133 

claimed by the Crown to command the army irrespec- 
tive of parliamentary interference. The Duke had 
been appointed in 1855 to the chieftainship of the 
army by Albert- Victoria, not for his qualities as a 
soldier, but that they might concentrate the command 
of the army in themselves. George of Cambridge was 
kindly enough, but he was, like many of the Georges, 
far from clever, and he was but the veil which hid the 
real headship of the Queen. Albert had felt strongly 
that the monarch should have full control of the army, 
and would have taken the post himself in 1850 had 
he not already known his hands to be full and that 
such an appointment would have added greatly to 
his unpopularity. It was the Germanic system grafted 
upon our Constitution, and was extremely dangerous 
in that it seemingly gave military power over to one 
person who had neither the knowledge, aptitude nor 
time necessary to wield it, and who was wedded to 
ancient theories of use and prerogative. From the 
day of the Duke of Wellington our army had dwindled 
until it was declared during the Danish war that we 
could only have put twenty thousand men into the 
field. 

Palmerston, during the last five years of his life, had, 
with his moribund Parliament, enjoyed a siesta of 
inaction which but poorly prepared the Queen for the 
strenuous times that were coming under Gladstone 
and his new brooms who were intending to sweep as 
cleanly as possible. Thus when Cardwell, later 
Viscount Cardwell, became War Secretary in 1869, 
and Childers went to the Admiralty, they found both 



134 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

army and navy in an alarming state of inefficiency. 
France was superior to England in ironclads, while 
Russia and Italy combined equalled her. In 1866 Sir 
John Pakington had asked for supplies to build six 
turret ships, and the Chancellor Disraeli opposed the 
suggestion, refusing to allow ,50,000 that even one 
might be begun. The statements made then awoke 
public attention to both army and navy, and various 
short-sighted actions of the Duke of Cambridge's 
such as condemning a young lieutenant for some mis- 
demeanour to wear his uniform on all occasions for 
a year as a punishment, thus turning an honour into 
a disgrace kept the matter alive. . Many people were 
astonished and relieved when in answer to a question 
in the House in February 1869 Cardwell replied 

:< The Duke of Cambridge is not Commander-in- 
Chief, but a Field Marshal commanding in chief," 
a distinction which had not been understood by the 
majority. To this he added the still more surprising 
information that the Duke was under the command 
of himself, who intended that he should remain so. 

England waited for developments, and was not 
altogether disappointed. 

Sir E. M. Grant Duff tells that Gladstone one day 
met Cardwell and Childers walking in Bond Street, 
and the former said to him 

"We have come to a decision. We are going to 
alter the arrangements of the War Office and get rid 
of the Duke of Cambridge." 

" Good gracious ! " replied Gladstone. " You have 
just come into office ; you have enemies enough already 



135 

and to spare ! Do you really mean to add to them 
the undying hostility of the Court? " 

This may have cooled the ardour of the two 
ministers, for the Duke of Cambridge held his post 
for a long time, and a Punch cartoon gave the key to 
the situation, saying 

" Look here, Cardwell, you say you can keep 
George up to his work ! Mind you do, or, by Jingo, 
I shall advise her Majesty to sack you both." 

Mr. Cardwell had made the first step and had inci- 
dentally raised the first pang of surprised anger in 
the Queen's breast at the idea of a new infringement 
of her prerogative. The Duke of Cambridge could 
no longer be regarded as commander of the national 
forces subject only to her Majesty. The War 
Minister did, however, go further, by bringing forward 
a scheme for the reconstruction of the army, one clause 
being the abolition of the purchase of commissions 
and the substitution of promotion for personal merit. 

The purchase system had become one of extreme 
danger both to the army and the country, and as it 
was a class arrangement it was bitterly fought through 
both houses when Gladstone made it one of his 
essential reforms. It raised such keen feeling that for 
the first time obstruction in its modern form took the 
place of opposition. That the question of loss should 
not destroy the Bill, Gladstone proposed to buy the 
commissions back at the extraordinary values set upon 
them by the holders. It passed the Commons by a 
small majority, but the Lords were determined this 
time to fight to a finish- 



136 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Victoria once more found herself on the side of 
ancient things, and from the quiet of her far retreat 
watched events with anger and distrust. Then to her 
horror she suddenly found herself drawn into the 
centre of the dispute. Gladstone knew entirely the 
temper and the intention of the Lords, and foresaw 
months spent in discussing a reform which was essen- 
tial to the safety of the nation, ending, perhaps, with 
a terrible upheaval which would do much more damage 
to the Upper than to the Lower House. He had all 
through been in unremitting correspondence with the 
Queen, and had done his best to soothe her contention 
that he was infringing her personal rights. At last 
he proved to her that Commission purchase was in- 
stituted by an Act of George III, which left it to the 
discretion of the sovereign to continue the practice, 
and that George had used his discretion in so con- 
tinuing it. 

Thus in July, when the Lords were joyfully con- 
templating the destruction of the Bill by amendments, 
the Queen was being persuaded to sign a warrant 
reversing that of her grandfather. She hated the deed, 
but she knew that the country was with the Bill, and 
she was under the spell of Gladstone's strong deter- 
mination. It must have been one of the occasions 
when he had " to harden his heart to a flint." The 
compensation he offered her was that by this act she 
was giving public evidence of the power of the Crown, 
one which pleased her and took the bitterness out of 
the transaction. 

" She made no sort of difficulty in signing the war- 



THE BELOVED GERMANY 187 

rant," said Lord Halifax, the minister in attendance, 
" but she asked a formal expression of the Cabinet's 
advice as she was using her power in opposition to the 
House of Lords." 

The deed caused a sudden cessation of the storm; 
then after the first surprise it burst again in full fury; 
anathemas rang through the land, and piteous stories 
were told of the brutal Prime Minister who had 
literally forced her Majesty to sign this warrant against 
her will, who overturned the Constitution, robbed the 
officers and wished to destroy the army. The incident 
did not cause Victoria to like her Prime Minister any 
better; but had not Gladstone done this in spite of 
her opposition, we should never have had a Sir John 
French, the son of an unmoneyed naval captain, as 
head of the army's aristocracy of merit. 

There was another man whom the Queen did not like, 
and that was Louis Napoleon. She always distrusted 
him, most people did, and Bismarck was busy just now 
getting articles inserted into the London Press which 
aimed at producing anger in England against France, 
for he felt himself now in deadly need of keeping 
France isolated. Napoleon III had been a great 
figure, dominating Europe; he had dreamed great 
dreams, which sometimes came to reality, but towards 
this last year he had lost health and confidence. He 
wanted to sit quietly writing a book on Caesar, and 
his enthusiastic wife dragged him into noisy discus- 
sions on Poland, Mexico and the future of their son. 
He was already a broken man before 1870, and he 
had no desire for war. 



138 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The man who wanted war was Bismarck. He had 
raised Prussia upon the shoulders of a united Germany 
to the pinnacle of European supremacy. Denmark 
and Austria he had stamped under his feet. Now he 
wanted to fulfil a plan made twelve years earlier, when 
he had said that as soon as he could win the friend- 
ship of Russia he intended to conquer France. He 
had wooed Russia ever since; the human sacrifice of 
Poles had been to this end, and now he had succeeded 
by whispering the words " Black Sea Fleet." So he 
turned his attention to France, the strongest empire 
in Europe, and he determined to act quickly before 
Russia could repent. 

Napoleon was a little disturbed from his dreams, 
and felt feebly for an ally in Austria; then he turned 
to the Powers and demanded that the Luxemburg 
question, left open since the Danish war, should be 
settled, for the presence of Prussian guns on its forts 
pointing over his land at last struck him with an air 
of menace. By the intervention of England this 
matter was adjusted, and the little state was declared, 
with the assent of all, a permanently neutral country, 
its forts being dismantled. 

This was a check to Prussia, but the wily Chancellor 
found in it a pretext for a quarrel, declaring that 
Napoleon himself had tried to secure Luxemburg for 
France. There had been some secret suggestions, 
which Bismarck himself was accused by some of having 
prompted. In 1869 Prussia sent picked troops to the 
north to engage in gigantic manoeuvres, and the Queen 
of Holland wrote warning letters to Napoleon about 



THE BELOVED GERMANY 139 

Prussian intentions. But Kismet had entered into 
his soul, and he made no preparations. England 
might have influenced events, but all she did was to 
revile him. He could not understand it, nor could 
he tell why England's queen, who had so gratefully 
accepted his train for her journey through France, 
should now turn so bitterly against him. Perhaps he 
never knew that in his great defeat she said harshly 
that it was "a righteous punishment upon him." 
Certainly he did not know at the time that Queen 
Victoria sat in the little Craithie church listening to 
her dear Dr. Macleod, the clergyman who knew so 
well how to reach her heart, while he preached a 
sermon which, as it echoed her sentiments, she judged 
to be " splendid." 

" Without mentioning France, he made every one 
understand what was meant (when he pointed out how 
God would punish wickedness, vanity and sensuality). 
And the chapters he read . . . were really quite won- 
derful for the way in which they seemed to describe 
France. It was all admirable and heart stirring." 1 
One of the chapters was Isaiah xxviii, crying woe 
upon drunkards : " They are swallowed up of wine, 
they are out of the way through strong drink, they err 
in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables 
are full of vomit and filthiness, for there is no place 
clean." 

Poor wicked France and poor Louis Napoleon ! 
How he had been beloved fifteen years earlier ! But 
since then he had won from Austria some of her 

1 Queen's Diary. 



140 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

filched possessions ; and now he was opposed to the 
dear Germany, in which lay the interests of her 
children. 

A German scheme to put a Hohenzollern on the 
throne of Spain, thus sandwiching France between two 
of that family, caused disagreement, but the matter 
was in process of being arranged, and Emperor 
William wrote a telegram from Ems, which would 
have smoothed negotiations. It passed through the 
hands of Bismarck, who made important deletions, 
and war was declared. 1 



1 It should never be forgotten by Englishmen that one of 
Germany's methods in making- war is to secure the assistance 
of the Press in each country. Thus, at this time many articles 
appeared in English papers which were written by Busch, or 
some other tool of Bismarck. In July 1870 he caused to be 
inserted in "non-official German papers and in the Belgian and 
English Press paragraphs about the way the English observed 
neutrality. . . . They impartially permit both sides to purchase 
horses and munitions of war in England. It is unfortunate, 
however, that France alone can avail herself of this liberality, 
as will appear from a glance at the geographical position of 
the two countries, and from the superiority of the French at 
sea." 

This point was laboured for some time, Lord Granville being 
accused of favouring France, and the result was a flutter in 
England among politicians, a Bill being suggested to amend the 
laws regulating neutrality. So easily did we fall into the German 
trap ! However, Bismarck came to the decision to let matters 
drop because, though Granville was not what they desired, he 
was not prejudiced, and if he were overthrown his successor 
might be worse. All this and much more of the same kind can 
be read in the various books on Bismarck, written by Busch, 
notably Some Secret Pages of Bismarck's History. Any English 
newspaper which plays into a German enemy's hand is open 
to suspicion. 



THE BELOVED GERMANY 141 

Victoria's two sons-in-law, " Fritz " and Louis of 
Hesse, were commanding portions of the German 
army, and the Queen followed their actions keenly, 
and was also constantly in correspondence with the 
Crown Princess and Princess Alice, sending them 
hospital material. The latter wrote to her mother 

" How I sympathize with you, for I know with what 
fervour you wish well to Germany. All the world 
knows well the services rendered to Germany by 
England, the dangers that England has warded off 
from her, and that all is owing to your wisdom, to your 
experience, to your sentiments, which are sincere and 
just. You will be happy, I am sure, to know how 
universally your work is recognized and appreciated. 
What would dear papa have thought of this war ? The 
unity of Germany would have pleased him, but not 
the brutal means by which it has been founded." 

Prussia now was Prussia then. The Standard, 
which kept itself free from the taint of Prussian money, 
published accounts of vindictive and dishonourable 
acts. Whole villages had been put to the flames, 
civilians had been thrust back to die in their burning 
houses, public buildings and hospitals were shelled. 
Bismarck sneered at these revelations as manufactured 
in England, or as the ravings of ignorant villagers 
who wanted to be revenged for their losses. But these 
things caused the beginning of a reaction in England, 
and other things learned from her daughters softened 
the Queen's heart to France. 

When Bismarck arranged the bombardment of 
Paris, he found himself foiled, as neither the Emperor 



142 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

nor the Crown Prince would allow it. He laid the 
fault at the doors of Queen Augusta, the Crown 
Princess, and chiefly of Queen Victoria, who through 
her letters held the two men back. He hated all 
women who were clever, or who meddled in public 
affairs, and at this great crisis of his life he was pinned 
down by three women. He loathed them with all his 
heart, talked of them freely to those around him : 
:< There are also female snobs and very distinguished 
ones. The feminine half of our Court are snobs, our 
two most exalted ladies are snobs." For Victoria 
his hate was the hate of the man who far as he had 
climbed knew he could never get to the top. Shortly, 
he was jealous. He knew well enough how Victoria 
had played into Prussian hands; he knew that she 
did it blindly as far as European politics went; he 
knew that it resulted from her affection for Germany 
because of her own birth, her husband and her chil- 
dren. And he hated her the more for it. For what- 
ever he did he knew that he could not make Prussia 
supreme over England. So he wrote contemptuously 
of the " Coburg-Belgium-English clique," thus dump- 
ing together Victoria, Ernst and Leopold II. 

The ineffable Ernst was like a creature on wires 
during those days, bombarding his Prussian relative 
with reams of advice, and flourishing his sword before 
the eyes of Europe. Like the Crown Prince, he sent 
to his wife regular accounts of what happened, and 
after the battle of Worth he wrote in this delightful 
style 

" I am able to begin with the joyful words, 






THE BELOVED GERMANY 143 

' another bloody battle/ as the telegraph has informed 
you, brilliant and victorious." 

Emperor William sent the like news to his empress, 
in words which Punch scarcely altered in the lines 

" My dear Augusta, 

We've had a buster. 
Laid ten thousand Frenchmen low ! 
Thank God from whom all blessings flow ! " 

As far as Napoleon was concerned the war was 
quickly over; hardly a month from the beginning 
Sedan was fought and he surrendered. Then came 
the German advance upon Paris, and the three months' 
struggle between Bismarck and the royal family. The 
Crown Princess was reported to have struck the table 
while talking of it and saying 

" For all that, Paris shall not be bombarded." 

She was wrong, Bismarck prevailed, and the siege 
began on December 27 amid heavy snow and severe 
cold. 

Then the royal ladies concentrated their energies 
upon succouring the Parisians when the moment of 
capitulation arrived, a mistaken generosity, which but 
prolonged the suffering. They persuaded William to 
allow them to pass trains, packed with provisions, as 
near Paris as possible, ready to be taken into the 
city as soon as the siege was raised. Queen Victoria 
sent enormous quantities of food, but she would have 
been wiser to have tried to stop the war at the begin- 
ning, or at the end to have protested against the 
criminal fine exacted by Prussia from France. These 
food trains rested in the lines of the German soldiers, 



144 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

who themselves had not enough to eat; and when 
the gates of Paris were opened, there was no way of 
getting them there because of broken bridges and 
destroyed roads. The knowledge that it was coming 
had made the Parisians prolong their resistance until 
the last moment, so that then the mortality was fright- 
ful, five thousand a week dying of starvation, a great 
number being children under two years of age, and 
" coffins of these tiny French citizens were to be seen 
in all directions." 

It is a statesman's business to be wise before and 
not after an event, and there was little statesmanship 
in English and royal action concerning this war. 

Russia had not been idle. She had issued a circular 
to the European powers declaring that she would no 
longer recognize the prohibition which was inserted 
in the treaty of Paris, against her warships entering 
the Black Sea. This condition had been insisted 
upon by Palmerston after the Crimean War, and was 
regarded with disfavour by every country but Eng- 
land; Palmerston himself not believing that it could 
be enforced for more than ten years, but it had 
lasted fifteen. On receipt of the Russian circular Odo 
Russell was sent to the Prussian King to say that 
unless he could induce the Muscovite to withdraw the 
circular, England would go to war. Bismarck was 
utterly surprised at a belligerent tone from England, 
and seeing that it was meant he consented to use his 
influence, protesting that the whole affair was a 
remarkable, new and unexpected event to him. Yet 
in his reminiscences we find him boasting of his share 



THE BELOVED GERMANY 145 

in the transaction. " But for us they (the Russians) 
would not have obtained it from France and England." 

The circular was withdrawn, a conference was 
called, and Russia's freedom in the Black Sea was 
assured by pacific means. 

In spite of the Queen's love for Germany, Bismarck 
was too strong for her, and when the war was over she 
was, next to the Crown Princess, the most unpopular 
person in that kingdom. Indeed, a most extraordinary 
wave of anger against England swept over the land, 
anger which had its root in jealousy of a people which 
could see neighbouring countries ravaged by war and 
yet sit quietly behind their cliffs and suffer no like 
damage. 

One of the Queen's strongest qualities was that of 
personal sympathy, and when Sedan sealed the fate 
of Napoleon and Eugenie, the latter fled to England, 
being received by Victoria, who had always loved her, 
with tears for her plight. Grant Duff said of Eugenie 
years earlier, " she is brave and would show well 
indeed if she had to dare anything in the streets of 
Paris." That chance had arrived in September 1870, 
when, with Madam Le Breton, she fled through the 
palace and galleries of the Louvre, and sat silently 
for hours hidden in the dark corner of a conveyance 
in the Rue de Rivoli, surrounded by the rabble 
which blocked the streets, until at last she got away. 
Reaching a station outside Paris, she had again to wait 
for a train, and her only safety from detection was a 
newspaper which she held before her face and which 
saved her from discovery and possible death. 



146 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Once in England she went to Chislehurst, where 
Mary of Teck, one of her first callers, found her sadly 
changed and wrinkled, while the Duke of Cambridge 
thought her looking sixty and very low and subdued. 
It was of her that some one later said, " Her face 
makes me think of Rudyard Kipling's story, The Gate 
of a Hundred Sorrows''' 

Napoleon, a prisoner at Wilhelmshohe in Cassel, 
was trying to get some moderation of the terms of 
peace by suggesting a common German-Franco war 
against England. This should not raise surprise, for 
he had nothing for which to thank England. It was 
many years before the world knew of this, and if 
Victoria heard of it at the time from Fritz, she did not 
let it prevent her offering an asylum to the dethroned 
emperor. He too came to Chislehurst, and once he 
again met the English queen, she succumbed anew 
to his charm of manner, and remained his firm friend 
until his death in January 1873; at which event she 
wept publicly and showed such grief that her people 
were astonished. 



CHAPTER X 

FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 

" Our faithful Commons, 'tis a story 
To say you're Radical or Tory. 
You vote your Queen such generous doles, 
You are all Liberal, bless your souls." 

Contemporary verse. 

"The fact is there are too many of us." The old Duchess of 
wcester. 

THAT children bring sorrow as well as joy is a trite 
saying of which Queen Victoria experienced the truth. 
She was most disappointed in the Prince of Wales, 
whom she had laboured so hard to develop on her 
own lines, only to find him resolutely bent on running 
on his own. Princess Louise did not marry a German 
Serene Highness, and therefore was scarcely satisfac- 
tory. Prince Alfred was more promising, as he was 
showing a remarkable carefulness in money matters 
and an extensive knowledge of stock-exchange fluc- 
tuations which must have pleased her, in spite of the 
fact that he gave rise to many facetious paragraphs 
in the Press. Prince Arthur was much beloved and 
was also popular with the public. But poor Prince 
Leopold appealed most to his mother's heart, and was 
at the same time a great anxiety, for he was very 
delicate, being liable to fits and suffering from 
external haemorrhage, which showed an abnormal 

147 



148 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

thinness of the skin. Thus he was always liable to 
take illnesses, such as typhoid, sciatica, etc. 

The Prince of Wales, however, tried her most, for 
his name was before the public in a scandalous way. 
Yet the people insisted upon liking him better than 
all the rest, and, whatever comments they might pass 
upon him, the whole nation was agreed in lauding his 
princess. These two did their utmost to make up for 
the social deficiencies of the Queen. They held levees 
and drawing-rooms, laid foundation-stones, dedicated 
wards, named ships, visited hospitals, opened bridges, 
and occasionally did work still more domestic, for there 
was no limit to the demands of charitable and public 
companies. Thus in 1865 the Prince had to start the 
engine which for the first time delivered the contents 
of the Southern Main Drainage Works into the 
Thames; a complimentary loyalty somewhat similar 
to that which named one of the London sewers near 
Buckingham Palace the Victoria Sewer. It was in 
June 1872 that the Prince and Princess opened the 
Bethnal Green Museum, and found among the mottoes 
displayed along the route some with these kindly 
messages : " Long wished for, come at last." " Come 
again and bring your mother with you ! " ' Thank 
you for your kind visit." 

For years the papers gave such constant paragraphs 
to this young couple's good deeds that people began 
to realize that they were very hard at work. Most of 
this work, however, was attended by a sameness which 
eventually brought dullness with it, and needed an 
antidote one way or another. The Princess found it 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 149 

in bearing a succession of children ; the Prince, devoid 
of such resource, became epris with the bright eyes 
of one lady after another. This was scarcely astonish- 
ing, seeing the stock from which he sprung ; it would, 
in fact, have been unreasonable not to expect some- 
where in the Queen's family a throwback to an earlier 
generation. But what a prince does cannot be hidden ; 
so while, on the one hand, a cartoon was issued show- 
ing Alexandra as Joan of Arc before the throne, 
carrying the sword of popularity and the banner of 
self-sacrifice, trampling the while on the Fenian flag 
and the rod of discontent, the Prince in another was 
drawn running after the shade of George IV. 

In 1867 the Court Circular announced that Alex- 
andra had given birth to "a princess," which gave 
occasion for good-humoured scoffing, it being pointed 
out how interesting would be the then first columns 
of the newspapers if every titled person made such 
announcements as " Lady So-and-so of a baronet " 
or "of an honourable," etc. This birth took place 
during a painful illness of acute rheumatism, the 
disease becoming eventually localized in the knee. 
The Princess's condition caused so much anxiety that 
the Queen went several times quietly up to London 
to see her, which was in itself an event. In September, 
when Alexandra went to Hesse-Darmstadt to meet her 
nation's enemy, King William of Prussia, the knee, 
having been treated, in the manner of those times, by 
splints, bandages and lying-up, was rigid, and she 
walked with two sticks. 

Of the meeting Princess Alice said : " Alix was 



150 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

pleased with the civility and kindness of the King." 
It is an amusing trait with the Prussian 'kulturist' 
that when he has successfully robbed a nation, he 
declares that he has done it for that nation's good 
and does his best to make it believe it and 'kiss and 
be friends.' ' 

Albert Edward had some accidents during these 
years which perhaps added to the excitement of his 
existence, being spun off his horse by a heavily 
antlered stag when shooting in Germany, but without 
receiving injury; later in Rotten Row a runaway steed 
cannoned into him, sending his horse down like a 
rabbit struck with shot and apparently rolling over his 
rider, the intruder jumping clear over both. But again 
he was not hurt, and remounted and rode away before 
much of a crowd could gather. A volunteer was 
arrested for threatening to shoot the Prince, and 
carrying on parade ball cartridges in his pocket for 
that purpose. Thus when Albert Edward was in 
Russia and a report was sent to his wife that he had 
been killed there, she at once believed it. It was, 
however, false, though other dangers to which he laid 
himself open were true enough. 

These were the dangers of gossip, scandal and 
fierce anger in various circles, which all culminated 
in 1871, when not only was his name publicly used 
in what was known as the Mordaunt Divorce Case, 
but he himself was called as a witness. 

Sir Charles Mordaunt wanted a divorce from his 
wife, she having owned to him that " she had done 
very wrong " with several people, among them being 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 151 

the Prince of Wales. What would have been divulged 
had the case taken its normal course it is not easy to 
say, but the onus of embroiling the Prince was too 
much for all but the defendant's counsel. So the 
convenient question was raised as to whether Lady 
Mordaunt was sound enough mentally to plead a 
defence, and upon this point the trial took place. Sir 
Charles's counsel indignantly repudiated the assertion 
that he had subpoenaed the Prince, whereupon counsel 
on the opposite side subpoenaed him. Part of Sir 
Charles's examination ran 

" I believe you had no personal acquaintance with 
his Royal Highness?" 

" I can't say that I knew him well. I had a slight 
acquaintance and had spoken to him, but he was not 
a friend of mine." 

" Did he ever come to your house upon any invita- 
tion of yours?" 

" Never." 

" Did you ever have any conversation with your 
wife about him ? " 

" I did. I warned her against continuing her 
acquaintance with him." 

He further said that he knew nothing of frequent 
visits paid by the Prince, and did not know that his 
wife had received letters. 

However, eleven letters were brought into Court, 
and on February 23 the Prince himself was called. 
His share in the trial was small, however, the last 
question asked him being 

" Has there ever been any improper familiarity or 



152 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

criminal act between you and Lady Mordaunt ? " To 
which he answered 

' There has not." Applause followed this, but was 
instantly checked, and the Daily Telegraph com- 
mented, " The words, though given without special 
emphasis, carry along with them an earnest of their 
honest truthfulness." 

Lady Mordaunt was pronounced insane, and Sir 
Charles was left to bring up as his heir a boy who, 
though bearing his name, was not his son. 

Six weeks later there was another scandal, an 
application for a criminal information against the 
proprietors of the Sheffield Daily Telegraph being 
made. This paper had published "A Startling 
Rumour" to the effect that the Prince was likely to 
appear again in the Divorce Court, this time as a 
co-respondent. The case came before the Queen's 
Bench six months afterwards, and a fine of 50 was 
imposed, it having been shown that part of the para- 
graph had been lifted from the Echo and the names 
which had been added had been secured from an 
usher of the Divorce Court. The people implicated 
by the paragraph all swore that it was entirely without 
truth. 

Thus for ten months the name of the future ruler 
of England was dragged in the mud, and the distress 
and anger of the Queen were very deep, for the 
scandals struck a blow at her most cherished ideal 
for her children. 

All in all the spring of 1871 was perhaps the most 
wretched of the Queen's widowhood, for there seemed 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 158 

to be no form of public annoyance to which she 
was not exposed. That it was to a great extent her 
own fault did not, and, from her supreme belief in 
the inviolability of her position, could not, occur to 
her. She blamed her Government and her people 
alone, and so found further reason for ignoring 
England and expanding the warmth of her affections 
over Scotland. Had she not alienated the great mass 
of the public there might have been discussion over 
her new demands for dowries and incomes, but there 
would not have been the general excitement that was 
shown. 

The marriage of Princess Louise was the first centre 
of attack, and then came the majority of Prince 
Arthur. 

Louise was pretty and gay, desiring the admiration 
of her kind, and, like other girls, she flirted with any 
charming man in her proximity, which for a queen's 
daughter was perhaps not "quite discreet." The 
papers announced once that she was to marry a bishop, 
and it was a matter of open comment that she was 
much inclined to a "handsome, brilliant divine," 
Canon Ainger. On the other hand, she was never 
accused of any partiality for impecunious German 
princelings, her last flirtation being with the Marquis 
of Lome, whom the Queen said she remembered in 
his babyhood as " a dear, white, fat, fair little fellow 
with reddish hair." 

Whatever her Majesty's private feeling about this 
marriage, she said no word publicly against it, and it 
may well be believed that if a Briton were to be 



chosen, she would prefer a Scot to any other. The 
Prince of Wales was strongly against it, but then he 
was not in the habit of approving of his brothers-in- 
law, his disregard for the Crown Prince being a matter 
of comment in Germany. When "Fritz" and his 
wife came to London in 1871 it was remarked in 
Germany that " they made a great impression, Society 
and the Press recognizing his importance," and "the 
Prince of Wales and his Princess were themselves 
more civil this time, and even put in an appearance 
at the German legation." 

In spite of all remonstrance Victoria gave her sanc- 
tion to the marriage all that was needed to make the 
Royal Marriage Act a dead letter and the wedding 
was fixed for March 1871, during Lent. 

Society, instead of upholding its own order, followed 
the example of Albert Edward, but then it always 
follows the bell-wether on the sheep track and does 
little thinking on its own account. The people were 
considerative at first, for if an income were granted the 
Princess, they hoped it would be spent in the British 
Isles, perhaps even in London. 

As money was wanted once again, Victoria once 
again screwed up her courage to face her loyal Par- 
liament, and in February drove quickly through the 
streets to the peers' entrance of the House of Lords 
to declare Parliament open. She was received with 
little enthusiasm, for the people knew now that she 
was only ready to humour them when she wanted 
something, and they resented it. When she entered 
the throne-room it was seen that some modification 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 155 

had been made in the sombreness of her dress. The 
material was less heavy, and a small diamond crown 
was worn above her widow's cap. She also was pre- 
ceded by Lord Granville carrying the sword of state, 
the Marquis of Winchester with the cap of main- 
tenance, and Lord Bessborough with the crown. For 
a brief moment the assembled multitude hoped that 
she would herself read the speech. But no ; the Lord 
Chancellor accomplished the task, while his royal 
mistress sat with downcast eyes on the throne, the 
robes of state being loosely cast around her. 

With the meeting of Parliament the most extra- 
ordinary discussion on royalty began. To a student 
of events it was not astonishing that the spirit of 
revolution was still strong. France had declared a 
republic, and for more than seventy years France had 
greatly influenced England. Now high and low alike 
were asking why something like a million pounds of 
public money should go to keep up a Monarchy and 
a Court which for two-thirds of the year lived at the 
two extremes of the kingdom and for the other third, 
though within reach of London, steadily refused to 
appear there. Though public suspicion and criticism 
were as keen now as before, it had become somewhat 
muzzled, for Gladstone stood as a buffer between 
royalty and the people ; and, much as Victoria disliked 
him, he was her strongest protector, his policy of 
domestic reform alone being a safeguard to her. The 
feeling among the workmen that at last a friend was 
at the helm of State, that at last their dire needs were 
to receive consideration, had by 1870 reduced the 



156 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

tendency to violent speech. But now it all broke 
forth again. 

After the official announcement of Louise's engage- 
ment meetings were held in many large towns to 
protest against the money grant that every one knew 
would be demanded. At Nottingham it was con- 
demned and the crowd separated shouting for a 
republic. Birmingham would not give a hearing to 
the two members who spoke in its favour, and a 
deputation was sent to them demanding that they 
should oppose it in the House. At Wellington Music 
Hall, Holborn, a packed meeting passed with acclama- 
tion a resolution that the time had come to " demand 
the withdrawal of all annuities now paid out of the 
taxes to German princes, and also that no further 
endowments be made to any of the royal family." 
Brighton demanded the opposition of its member, 
Professor Fawcett, and other towns too numerous to 
mention followed suit. 

The Pall Mall Gazette, in a remarkably outspoken 
leader, declared that to be a worthy representative at 
the head of the State was a difficult part, "and yet a 
ruler of real intellect and force of character might 
produce incalculable effect upon the country." It rang 
the note of warning against indifference and neglect, 
adding, " Nine men in ten would preserve the 
monarchy, but not one in ten would express warm 
personal devotion to it. Thus if vehement political 
agitation arise, those institutions which have ceased 
to cause lively enthusiasm may go to the wall more 
quickly than any one expects." 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 157 

When Gladstone proposed the usual grants many 
petitions were laid on the table against them, Professor 
Fawcett, Mr. Peter Taylor and Sir Robert Peel speak- 
ing as opposers. The last-named questioned the use 
to which Victoria put the money granted by the nation 
to support the dignity and representation of the 
Crown : " When foreign sovereigns come to England 
it is painful to Englishmen to find the enormous 
income is not devoted in the way contemplated by 
Parliament. ... I would double the income of the 
Prince of Wales. He lives among us and does that 
for which 385,000 is voted to the Crown." He added 
that when a princess lays aside royalty she should 
accept other conditions, and her Majesty should be 
left to make provision for her. 

The same note was struck in the Upper House by 
Lord Oranmore and others, yet in both Houses every 
one knew that the grants were assured, so when it 
came to a division the protestors, knowing themselves 
in a minority, stayed away. Two objectors, Peter 
Taylor and Auberon Herbert, were tellers in the 
division, and Professor Fawcett walked in stately 
solitude into the " No " lobby, provoking peals of 
laughter. This result gave the historians the chance 
of ignoring the whole agitation and enlarging upon 
the great satisfaction felt by the House and the country 
over the match. 

The Queen held personally two Courts at Bucking- 
ham Palace in February, thus necessitating only one 
night's stay in the capital, which was felt to be but a 
poor return to her hungry and generous Londoners. 



158 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

There was trouble over the date of the wedding. 
Instead of going abroad, Victoria chose to spend April 
at Osborne, leaving Windsor on the 5th; the earlier 
part of May was absorbed by glad anticipations of 
Balmoral ; the latter part of that month and the greater 
part of June was passed in Scotland; therefore the 
only time left was March. So, though she was the 
head of the Church, she chose a date in Lent, much 
to the horror of those subjects who regarded that 
period as a time for soberness. Agitations were set 
afoot to get the day altered, and to petition the Arch- 
bishop to declare it lawful for the clergy to dispense 
for the day with the Church's ordinary rule, and there 
was an attempt to institute in London High Churches 
a special penitential service at the hour of the 
wedding. 

Victoria was quite unmoved, and the marriage took 
place at St. George's Chapel, the Queen taking a 
prominent part in it by walking up the aisle with the 
bride, perhaps that she might publicly show her 
sanction. The Duke of Argyll was in full Campbell 
apparel kilt, philibeg, sporran, claymore and scarf 
while the Marquis and his two supporters were in 
Volunteer Artillery uniform. Every one was there, 
even the Gladstones, in their very best clothes; and 
the Daily Telegraph, reporting the gorgeousness of it 
all, added that the heralds who were busy about the 
discharge of their duties looked like " enormous human 
remains from some strange island where the missing 
link is to be found between man and birds." 

When the newly wedded drove away rice and satin 

> 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 159 

shoes were thrown after them, also a new broom which 
the muscular arm of John Brown sent slithering on to 
the stones. Being a Scotch marriage, he was surely 
privileged. Scotch sentiment on the event was amus- 
ingly expressed by the Campbell crofter who said that 
the Queen must be a proud woman that day because 
she was marrying her daughter to the son of the great 
Duke of Argyll. 

In July, when a grant was asked for Prince Arthur, 
the whole monetary discussion was again raised, and 
even more bitterly. A demonstration in Trafalgar 
Square was attended by the largest crowd that had 
ever met there, reaching from the steps of St. Martin's 
Church to the barracks which then stood at the west 
side, to listen to Bradlaugh protesting, in the name of 
the men of Lancashire, Yorkshire and other counties, 
against " princely paupers " taking the people's money, 
some one else saying that such grants tended to 
encourage idleness and the evils which sprang from 
it. At the same time in the House, every approach 
to which was closely guarded by police, half a dozen 
members protested against the grant, and though the 
motion was passed with an overwhelming majority, 
there remained " an uneasy feeling that the prolonged 
eclipse of the splendour of royalty had effectually 
damaged the popularity, not only of the Queen, but 
of the Crown." 

The Queen herself, fortified by her usual attitude, 
could see no danger in the universal discontent and 
no justice in the appeal of her people; she saw nothing 
but a wicked persecution of herself, and blamed her 



160 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ministers for not putting it down with a high hand, 
for not eloquently and publicly proclaiming that all 
that she did was right. 

Disraeli might have found some means of diverting 
public attention, he would certainly have softly sympa- 
thized with his sovereign; but the strenuous Glad- 
stone, who defended her strongly both in and out of 
the House, showed her that he wanted her to help in 
safeguarding herself. He begged her to conform to 
the demands of her position, to open Parliament, to 
delay a journey to Balmoral for the public good, or 
to carry out some other royal function ; and this made 
her angry. She accused him of being inimical to her, 
of not recognizing the weight of work which hung over 
her, and she made the absurd charge that he was trying 
to force her to do work which was not so much hers 
as his. Her feeling for him became actively resentful, 
and, to quote from the article in the Quarterly 
Review 

' The surface of her mind had received an impres- 
sion unfavourable to the approach of that particular 
minister, and nothing could ever in future make her 
really pleased to welcome him." 

Disraeli had little sympathy with representative 
government or the English Constitution, and he made 
matters worse in a speech at Hughenden when he said 
that the Queen's duties were multifarious, weighty 
and unceasing, that she read every dispatch received 
or sent; adding, "The whole internal administration 
of the country greatly depends on the sign manual; 
and of our present Sovereign it may be said that her 






FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 161 

signature has never been placed to any public docu- 
ment of which she did not know the purport and of 
which she did not approve" 

Seeing how very conservative Victoria had become, 
this declaration raised wide indignation, for it de- 
scribed personal government, autocracy. Indeed, the 
reiteration of the assertion that the Queen was un- 
ceasingly at work on State affairs and had no time 
for mere functions was breeding an angry suspicion 
that there was more to be feared than desired in her 
activity. 

Upon her the painful events of the first half of 1871 
had a not unusual effect. She fell ill with neuralgia 
and rheumatic gout, which she attributed to worry. 
The news of the illness at once caused a modification 
of public comment; people began to think they had 
been hard upon her, and they atoned by showing 
sympathy and concern; and though this pleased her 
Majesty, she put it down to remorse for the cruel way 
which the nation had treated her, saying " that she 
ought it very hard that it was necessary to have this 
vere illness and great suffering to make people feel 
or her and understand her." She was not to blame 
for this in one way : it was the result of the rigidity 
f her nature; as has been said, she regarded herself 
right, and nothing could shake that conviction. 
The Queen probably suffered from what is now 
nown as neuritis. In 1869 she had "a violent attack 
f neuralgia" in the leg, and it is more than likely 
that the long, wearing lameness which afflicted her 
in 1883 and the following year was due to the same 



M 



162 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

thing, rather than to an accidental tripping on the 
stairway. 

It was November before she could walk up and 
down stairs again, just about the time when discontent 
broke out afresh, started by Sir Charles Dilke in a 
speech at Newcastle-on-Tyne. His subject was the 
Civil List and the sums voted to the Crown, such as 
131,000 in yearly annuities to daughters, sons and 
relatives, 7000 for steam packets to take visitors to 
and from Osborne, and for insignia and presents when 
a royal prince went abroad, 20,000 in military and 
naval pay to members of the royal family, 100,000 
for the yearly upkeep of the royal yachts, and other 
sums, bringing the total to 1,000,000 of public 
money. Concerning the yachts, Sir Charles added, 
"As an instance of the decorative character of these 
yachts I may say that I found an able-bodied seaman 
who was maintained all the year round to paint 
the lion and the unicorn on the five brackets. He 
commented upon the freedom of these annuities froi 
all taxes, and of the Queen from income tax. Froi 
this he discussed the sinecures in the Household, 
declaring that among the officials retained were 
twenty-one doctors, dentists and chemists, a litho- 
grapher-in-ordinary, an historical painter to the Queen, 
a portrait painter to the Queen, the Lord High 
Almoner, Sub-Almoner, Hereditary Grand Almoner, 
Clerk of the Check, Clerk of the Closet, Master of 
the Buckhounds, Exons-in-waiting and Hereditary 
Grand Falconer. 

The real brunt of his attack lay in the question : 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 163 

" Now that no Court is kept 100,000 is saved on 
tradesmen's bills, and where does that money go? 
Has it not been diverted from its just use into the 
pocket of the Queen ? " The speech concluded with 

" Show me a fair chance that a Republic will be 
free from the political corruption that hangs about the 
Monarchy, and I will say, ' Let it come ! ' 

The public was so inured, and in a great respect 
so sympathetic, to these attacks on the woman who 
flouted it that the speech raised little surprise or 
horror, and comment upon it would have been kept 
alive, but that across the strained feeling fell a mis- 
fortune which, though quite extraneous to the trouble, 
diverted every one's attention. 

The Prince of Wales, temporarily unpopular and 
in social disgrace, fell ill. He had been staying at 
Londesborough Lodge, Scarborough, and after his 
return to Sandringham developed the complaint of 
which his father died, typhoid fever. At the time 
there were many stories of domestic estrangement in 
the princely home, but the next three months healed 
these, made people forget the Queen's shortcomings, 
and reinstated royalty once more in its high position. 

Alexandra, Helena and Alice became Albert 
Edward's devoted nurses, but his death was expected 
daily. On December i he recovered consciousness 
for a short time, and, hearing the date, murmured, " It 
is Alexandra's birthday." A relapse followed this 
moment of hope, and a member of the household 
wrote that the end was not far distant. The Queen 
went down to Sandringham for the second time, her 



164 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

face wet with tears as she left Windsor; and she 
stayed there eleven days, dreading that terrible I4th, 
not daring to hope that it would not again bring death 
to her family. But to her joy on that very day the 
first sign of improvement took place, and she left 
Norfolk on the igth consoled and hopeful, paying 
a high tribute to the doctors and royal nurses when 
she said 

" Had my Prince had the same treatment he might 
not have died." 

There was a great discussion as to how the disease 
had been contracted, for Lord Chesterfield, who was 
at Londesborough Lodge at the same time, also took 
typhoid and died. On the other hand, Blegg, the 
Prince's groom, who had not left Sandringham, suc- 
cumbed to typhoid on December 18. Expert examina- 
tion showed that while the drainage of Sandringham 
was passable, its water supply was flavoured by cess- 
pools, and the disease was rampant at a village near 
the Prince's house. Londesborough Lodge was con- 
demned without extenuation as " a vessel inverted 
over the mouth of a drain-pipe," so judgment had to 
be withheld. 

At the end of February 1872 a thanksgiving service 
was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, to which the Queen 
went in semi-state, changing her mourning cre$e for 
velvet and ermine. London people, diverted from 
their grumbling by sympathy with a great trouble, 
made a gala day of the event. They hung their 
banners and carpets over their house-fronts, smothered 
the window-frames with flowers, and made much 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 165 

money by letting those windows to cousins from the 
country. Some enthusiasts also spent enough to turn 
three hundred yards of the Strand into a perfumed 
pathway, strewn with violets. 

Victoria was so happy that she had lost her self- 
consciousness and desire to hide, and she forgot to 
be mean over trifles of procedure. So the Lord Mayor 
shut the gates of Temple Bar in her face, that he, as 
King of the City, might command them to be opened 
for his Sovereign in the ancient fashion ; and the 
people cheered frantically at this evidence of good 
feeling. Somewhere along the route a travelling 
circus got mixed up with the generals' staff and could 
not be disengaged, at which the crowd went wild with 
delight, and, temporarily, loved their Queen and 
Prince with a boundless love. 

In contrast to this gay, careless crowd, away in 
some dark corner sat a sour, disappointed residuum 
of Revolutionaries, the committee of which wrote that 
day the letter getting into the hands of the police 

' These English are a nation of fools ; they were 
all mad this morning and they will all be drunk 
to-night but the Revolution is adjourned for fifty 
years." 

Yet republicanism was still much alive, and there 
were those who felt that though the Prince's illness 
was a cast of the dice in the Queen's favour, it was 
not at all the same thing as a personal attempt on her 
part to obtain her people's affection, and many would 
have echoed the words of J. R. Green, had they 
known them 



166 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

" I am sorry when any young fellow dies at thirty, 
and am far more sorry when any mother suffers; but 
the sentiment of newspapers and town councils over 
'telegrams from the sick-bed' is simply ludicrous. 
However, one remembers that all France went mad 
with anxiety when Lewis the Well-beloved fell sick 
in his earlier days, and yet somehow or other '89 came 
never the later." l 

The Queen, however, felt very comforted by her 
peopled enthusiasm, and she wrote a letter to them, 
saying that their loyalty and sympathy had "made a 
deep and lasting impression upon her heart which 
could never be effaced " a statement which they had 
opportunities of testing. 

The day after the thanksgiving an incident hap- 
pened which increased the general loyal feeling. As 
the Queen was driving into Buckingham Palace yard, 
a half-witted youth of sixteen, named O'Connor, pre- 
sented a pistol at her over the side of the carriage 
with one hand and held out a paper with the other. 
The evidence given at Bow Street on March i was 
somewhat conflicting. John Brown said, ' The 
prisoner ran round the back of the carriage to the 
side where the Queen was sitting and raised his hand. 
He placed his hand upon the carriage and I seized 
him by the neck. ... I kept the boy in custody until 
the police arrived." 

General Harding, one of the two equerries, said, 
" I saw a commotion in the carriage and I went to 
the off side. The prisoner had already been seized 

1 Letters of John Richard Green. Edited by Leslie Stephen. 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 167 

by the other equerry in attendance." The constable's 
evidence was, "Afterwards I ran into the enclosure 
and received the prisoner in custody from Lord 
Charles Fitzroy (the other equerry)." 

However, whether Lord Charles Fitzroy or John 
Brown caught the boy, the Queen gave all the credit 
to the latter, and regarded him as a hero. Exagger- 
ated reports as to the danger the Queen had been in 
caused great excitement, but Lord Ronald Gower, 1 
who went to the police station out of curiosity, saw 
only a harmless-looking boy and an old flintlock pistol 
which had not carried a ball for many a year, and had 
neither flint nor hammer. The paper was a petition 
for the release of some Fenian prisoners. 

Victoria made such a fuss over John Brown and 
his share in the event that she cooled the enthusiasm 
of her subjects, who then became inclined to laugh the 

-s*L fi 

whole thing aside. She announced that she had long 
thought of rewarding her faithful domestic servants, 
and began by presenting the Scotsman with a gold 
medal and an annuity of 25, as a " mark of apprecia- 
tion of his devotion on the occasion of the attack 
made upon her Majesty." 

Other awards of the same sort do not appear to 
have been made public, and it would be interesting 
to know if any other good servant was presented with 
the order of John Brown. 

This superior man grew more and more burdensome 
to his colleagues and gave cause for much gossip. 
Every one had some story about his roughness of 
1 Old Diaries. By Lord Ronald Sutherland Gow^r, 



168 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

speech and rude manners. A man who for long 
superintended the details of the royal journeys to the 
north relates that on passing along the platform one 
night at Wigan he was surprised to find John Brown. 
On inquiring if all was right, he was further surprised 
by the answer 

" No ; the Queen says the carriage is shaking like 
the devil." 

Neele adds : " John Brown's coarse phonograph 
had thus transmitted her Majesty's gentle complaint." 

He tells how on another journey the Queen's read- 
ing-lamp was required, and for some cause the candles 
could not be placed in the sockets. The attendant 
tried again and again to get over the difficulty, and 
at last said it must wait until they reached Carlisle. 
John Brown would not hear of it, and, "as I fancy 
was his wont, asserted as though her Majesty had 
heard the suggestion, ' The Queen says the train 
shanna stir a fut till the lamps are put in.' And it 
had to be done." 

It was John Brown who broke bad news to her 
Majesty, upon whose arm she leaned if feeling pain 
in her leg, who went with her in her walks, drives, 
excursions, visits, who stood by her chair and scolded 
if she did not eat enough or if she chose from a dish 
which he thought would disagree with her. " Brown, 
who superintends everything for me," was the best 
description of this useful but unpopular person. 

He was said to take large percentages from the 
tradesmen, and in return would, when possible, give 

1 Notes of a Railway Superintendent. By G. P. Neele. 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 169 

them his help. Thus, when in 1878 the Court re- 
mained for Christmas at Windsor, the Mayor went to 
see his friend Brown to say that the town would 
sustain much loss if on Boxing Day there were no 
attraction for the visitors. So Brown promised to use 
his influence with the Queen, who, to the intense 
astonishment of all around her, ordered the state 
apartments to be open to the public on that day, though 
she was in residence. The day was wet, and The 
Times reported that "the state apartments of the 
castle being opened proved a refuge to the unfor- 
tunate pleasure-seekers." 

This, however, is a digression. 

A fortnight after the day of thanksgiving Sir 
Charles Dilke was ill-advised enough to repeat in 
the House the speech he had made in the autumn, 
on bringing forward a motion for an inquiry into the 
manner in which the income and allowances of the 
Crown were expended. As both he and Auberon 
Herbert announced themselves as republicans there 
was a terrible uproar, with booing and shouts of 
" Vide ! " while one member from behind the Speaker's 
chair gave loud cock-crows, a form of derision which 
had not been heard in that place for forty years. 
Professor Fawcett opposed the motion, saying that 
republicanism had nothing to do with huckstering and 
haggling over the cost of the Queen's income." It 
was lost by 276 to 4. 

Victoria is reported as saying musingly of Dilke, 
whose father had received a baronetcy for his services 
in the Great Exhibition of 1851, "I have had him on 



170 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

my lap. I have stroked his hair. I suppose I stroked 
it the wrong way." 

But though sentiment was to the fore at the moment, 
this did not prevent a widespread conviction that 
great injustice was being done in the use of public 
money. The preceding autumn a pamphlet had been 
widely disseminated, entitled What does she do with 
it? by "Solomon Temple, Builder." It gave a state- 
ment of the case which, though exaggerated in financial 
details, which could only be guessed at, was just and 
temperate, showing how the Civil List was a public 
matter, and had always been treated as a public matter 
until about 1850, when, under the influence of the 
Prince Consort, the Lords of the Treasury had de- 
nounced Lord Brougham's questions, to which he 
demanded answers, concerning the great savings made 
upon the Civil List, as improper, mischievous and 
disloyal. By the Civil List the Queen was allotted 
60,000 a year for her own private use, concerning 
which no one had a right to criticize; further sums 
of 131,260 went for salaries and retired allowances 
for her Majesty's household, 172,500 for household 
expenses, and 13,200 for alms and bounty. These 
sums were, as the Civil List Act stated, to enable the 
Queen to " defray the expenses of her royal house- 
hold, and to support the honour and dignity of the 
Crown." Now it had been admitted that the Prince 
Consort had by 1849 effected considerable savings on 
the salary list savings which had gone on, and even 
been increased, yearly; thorough secrecy had been 
maintained as to what use the money had been put. 



FOR MONEY, MONEY'S WORTH 171 

The natural inference was that it had been diverted 
to swell the sum of 60,000 allotted to the Queen's 
private use. It was further known that the Prince had 
left a very considerable sum of money by will; this 
again was treated with secrecy, only the Queen being 
aware of what the sum was or what had become of it. 
A miser named John Camden Neild had left Victoria 
a quarter of a million pounds as well as large estates, 
and others to a less degree had followed his example. 
And meanwhile it was believed by every one that in 
her secluded life the Queen made further great savings 
on the Civil List. It was therefore felt that the 
public should be assured that the money voted by 
them for the maintenance of state was not being 
diverted simply to add to the great riches of one 
who was already an immensely rich woman. But no 
assurance of the kind was given, and so almost to the 
day of her death this matter rankled in the minds of 
the Queen's subjects, who felt that the refusal of 
ministers to treat the Civil List as a public matter 
meant that all the suspicions were true, and that the 
country had no right to be asked constantly to add by 
annuities and dowries to the wealth of one family. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 

" We wish our Queen would dance a little more, 

Would follow Queen Elizabeth's example; 
And of her powers upon the dancing-floor 

Would give us Englishmen a sample. 
That Scots alone are favoured makes us sore, 

For surely London's loyalty 's as ample; 
And, with all deference, we think it silly 
To dance a reel with gamekeeper or gillie." 

Jon Duan. 

"Come awa ben and sit doon, Queen Victoria." Greeting of 
Scotch peasant to her Sovereign. 1 

IF Queen Victoria took her royal position with in- 
tense seriousness and felt herself to be above all social 
law, she yet possessed a simple outlook upon life which 
allowed her to get a great deal out of it, and to find 
amusement where many a society dame would have 
been terribly bored. She also showed a fund of 
sympathy for personal troubles which endeared her to 
many individuals. 

In Scotland she could develop her taste for sim- 
plicity to the fullest extent, could let every act be 
dictated by the habits and wishes of the dead. Albert 
had said that the Scotch peasants resembled the 
country people of Coburg, and so she trusted and 
loved them. In England she feared always lest some 

1 Recollections of a Royal Parish. By Patricia Lindsay. 

172 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 173 



one should take a liberty with her, in England she 
made no friends either rich or poor. In the north 
she was friends with all, allowed all to talk as they 
would, and laid aside her fear that they should be 
"indiscreet" enough to take a liberty. This was 
carried to such an extraordinary length that those who 
went north with her found a totally different mistress 
from the one they had served at Windsor. Lady 
Canning would warn a maid-of-honour before starting 
in the following words 

' You will be delighted with your waiting at Bal- 
moral or Osborne. You will see the Queen intimately, 
riding, dancing, playing, dining. You will think she 
cannot get on without you. And then you will come 
back one day to Windsor, and some one else will take 
your place, and you will have become a number on 
a list." 

In Scotland her Majesty became unrestrainedly a 
woman of the higher middle class; there she knew 
every one in her house or on her estate at Windsor 
men had served her for decades and never received a 
word from her. From the moment that she turned 
icr back upon her castle her spirits began to rise, 
and the nearer she got to Balmoral the higher they 
went. 

The journeys to Scotland were elaborate affairs. 
Court officials, railway managers, superintendents were 
all at work, pilot engines had to be supplied and 
different lines linked; patrols by the thousand were 
engaged to guard the lines, every over-bridge and 
under-bridge had its man to prevent trespass; other 



174 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

trains were stopped fifteen minutes before and after 
the passing of the royal train, and all shunting ceased 
for half an hour before. A look-out man travelled on 
the engine to perform the impossible feat of watching 
both sides of the train at once in case anything hap- 
pened or the Queen wished the speed altered. 

As the hour for leaving Windsor drew near the 
officers of the Great Western would assemble on the 
platform, and to the porters would be left the conduct 
of those who first arrived, the pages, servants and 
humble members of the suite. Then came the ladies, 
equerries and lords-in-waiting, followed by the junior 
members of the family. When all these were safely 
given their respective seats, with a clatter of quickly 
moving hoofs came the Queen. In hot haste John 
Brown and Francis Clarke would drop from their 
high seats, run to open the door and assist her Majesty 
to alight. 

The carriages of the Queen and the Princesses were 
perfectly fitted, the former very gorgeous with blue 
silk walls and white silk ceiling ; but no other carriage 
had sanitary arrangements, which necessitated various 
stops at isolated places during the afternoon and 
night. Prince Albert had always decreed that a 
marked difference should be made in all respects 
between the treatment of the family and the attend- 
ants, and the Queen never dreamed of altering 
things. It was " a fond clinging to old association,' 
as Neele, the superintendent, said when the last ten 
miles of the line had been built from Ballater and 
Victoria refused for two years to use it, insisting 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 175 

upon driving as heretofore. It needed a strong 
representation from Dr. Jenner as to the necessity of 
improved sanitation before any mercy was shown to 
the suite. 

There was another difference too, amusing to look 
back upon, but very vexing for those who suffered 
from it. The doorways of the trains were very high 
up, and to the Queen's carriage a pair of folding steps 
were fixed ; but to the others there was given no means 
of descent. The little stopping places were at lonely 
spots where there were no platforms ; Beattock Summit 
was one of these, and the Queen would often send 
word to some lady that she wished her presence from 
that or some other point to the next. It might be in 
fine weather, but it also might be in a storm, and the 
unfortunate chosen one would have to drop from her 
carriage somehow over its steep, wet side, and some- 
times return under the same conditions. Thus there 
is a record of Lady Ely being summoned in the pour- 
ing rain of a November afternoon at Greenhill, and 
being sent back at the Summit. The dress of the 
period included long trains, huge bustles, great chig- 
nons and thin shoes, and thus the train superintendent 
found Lady Ely trying to swarm up the wet side of 
the carriage. He is too delicate to relate how he 
hoisted her up; but he does tell how the Caledonian 
manager, a very short, sturdy man, used to amuse his 
friends by describing his adventure in " pushing up " 
Lady Augusta Bruce on one occasion. No one dared 
to suggest that the royal privilege of steps should be 
accorded these humbler people, and the eventual 



176 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

remedv was to change the defective stopping places 
for more convenient ones. 

John Brown, it is said, never noticed the need of 
steps, and would swing himself up and down easily, 
his Highland costume probably being an advantage. 
If some suffering lady had condescended to entreat 
him, maybe the trouble would have disappeared much 
earlier than it did. 

The Queen's desire for privacy was strongly im- 
pressed upon the railway officials, and though the train 
started in the afternoon this privacy was strictly main- 
tained through England. If the train stopped at any 
southern station the platform would generally be 
cleared. But before Perth was reached Victoria would 
be in a gayer frame of mind, and there " Her Majesty 
was generally greeted by a bright gathering of her 
lieges." Thus in 1867, when criticism upon royal 
seclusion had been loud, the strictest orders were 
given that on no pretext was any person to be allowed 
in any station south of Perth; and by some mistake 
the good Perthians were also shut out. The Queen 
quickly rectified this insult to her beloved Scots, the 
barriers were removed and she graciously acknow- 
ledged the cheers of the crowd. 

" No accidents ever happen to a royal train, it is 
too well looked after," said Punch, but there was once 
very nearly an accident, when a yardman took a goods 
wagon, hauled by a horse, straight across the main 
line just as the Queen's train came up. A gentleman 
gallantly jumped on the line and waved the driver of 
the train back, and he stopped in time. Such is the 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 177 

account, but it might be imagined that a goods wagon 
was as visible as a man. On another occasion there 
were a series of misfortunes. The engines were late, 
to begin with, the brake on her Majesty's carriage 
broke; at Perth the station was being altered, which 
necessitated the Queen descending on the up side and 
having to walk to her luncheon-room on the down 
line. The up platform, alas, had not been kept clear, 
and she was almost jostled by the people crowding to 
their train. Then her saloon lamps incontinently 
extinguished themselves, and lastly, on arrival at 
Windsor, the Queen's portion of the train, which was 
detached there to allow her to descend quietly on a 
special platform, would not move, and it took some 
minutes to get it to stir into the terminus. Some evil 
spirit must have been at work to annoy her Majesty. 

When the royal party returned from Scotland in the 
autumn of 1870, Princess Louise, who had just become 
engaged, was carried to the train on a litter, for in 
some way she had hurt her knee, and in a recumbent 
position she received delighted ovations from the 
pleased Scottish crowds. There was some " cursed 
spite " against the royal knee. Prince Leopold fell 
at a dance about this time and sprained his knee; the 
Princess of Wales suffered for many years with her 
knee, the Prince of Wales had what some one 
described as a "finicking walk with a weak knee"; 
in '69, '71 and '83 the Queen was laid up with 
rheumatism or sprain of the knee. 

In Scotland, as has been said, the Queen became a 
different woman. She would lay aside some of her 



decisiveness, would indulge in the luxury of not know- 
ing her own mind, and would in some matters be under 
the domination of a favourite servant, not being quite 
sure as to which road she would take or which dress 
she would wear. Here she could indulge in sad 
reminiscences or homely joy, a good example being 
the house-warming at the Glassalt Shiel, the first 
widow's house. At this all, save Victoria, and includ- 
ing Louise and Lady Ely, danced reels, the rest of 
the company being sixteen servants, among whom were 
the policeman supposed to be on guard, and a stable- 
man. The following is from her Majesty's book 

"After the first reel whisky toddy was brought 
round for every one, and Brown begged I would drink 
to the ' fire-kindling.' Then Grant made a little 
speech, with an allusion to the wild place we were in, 
and concluding with a wish ' that our Royal Mistress, 
our good Queen ' should ' live long.' . . . Sad thoughts 
filled my heart both before dinner and when I was 
alone and retired to rest. I thought of the happy 
past and my darling husband, whom I thought I must 
see, and who always wished to build here in this 
favourite wild spot, quite in among the hills." 

At Balmoral the Queen often gave a dance, but 
those invited only included the officials, ladies, 
servants, outdoor men, and sometimes the relatives of 
the latter and some who lived on the estate. Sir 
Arthur Helps mentioned in a letter such a dance at 
which a little "tiger" distinguished himself by con- 
triving to get the Princess of Wales as a partner, and 
a coachman cut out the Prince in a "perpetual jig." 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 179 

The Queen would remain watching the gaiety for 
hours and then, on one occasion, was persuaded to join 
in, her first partners being her young grandsons. The 
news of this, of course, duly reported in the English 
papers, would have pleased her English subjects, but 
unfortunately the injudicious monarch followed her 
first dances by joining in a reel with John Brown and 
then in another with a gamekeeper. In the then state 
of public criticism this was made the subject of some- 
what bitter banter and jokes, the chief point of which 
was the utter difference between Victoria in England 
and Victoria in Scotland. 

"It is not seemly that the servants' hall 

Should form a Court, nor that the servants there 

Should be the sole invites to a ball 

Which the Queen graces with her presence rare ; 

Nor that she only hold high Carnival 

When her Scotch servants marry ; 'tis not fair 

I To us, who royal smiles are never rich in, 

To find them lavished freely on her kitchen. 
References were freely made to that not-to-be- 
orgotten Elizabethan episode, when the Virgin 
Queen, being asked by the Spanish ambassador to 
wed Philip of Spain, replied, though in less rhyming 
words 

H" Supreme is the honour of him to be sought; 
Oblige him I'm sorry I can't, oh ! 
But lest you should think you have come here for nought, 
You shall see how I dance the coranto." 

And the ambassador was so amazed that he could 
only record to his master 

" I have seen the Head of the English Church 
dancing ! " 



180 WIDOW T HOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Scotland would never have made fun of the Queen 
in this way, but then, as Punch once pointed out in a 
bogus Queen's v Speech, Scotland had reason to be 
restrained. " Scotland gives me no trouble, but then 
I am so often there, and we know the frequent appear- 
ances of the Sovereign tend to raise the temperature 
of the nation." 

Sometimes Victoria had less pleasing experiences 
than balls and house-warmings, and one such was a 
spill on a dark night when returning home. Princesses 
Alice and Helena were with her, Brown was on the 
box, and Smith was the coachman. The latter 
" seemed to be quite confused, and got off the road 
several times, once in a very dangerous place." Alice 
probably saw that the man was drunk, for she was 
uneasy, even when he was driving straight ; but Brown 
was much too thoughtlessly careful, for he held up a 
lantern, "though the road was as broad and plain as 
possible," and the glare in the man's eyes could only 
have made him less fit. Shortly the carriage turned 
over. The Queen remembering as in a flash that 
there were things she had not settled and still wanted 
to do being thrown on her face "very hard," and 
the Princesses being pinned down by their clothes. 
Brown cried, " The Lord Almighty have mercy on us ! 
Who did ever see the like of this before? I thought 
you were all killed." The horses lay on their sides as 
if dead, and the driver stood stupidly staring. The 
Princesses got free by tearing their clothes, and then 
helped their mother up, sitting her in the side of the 
overturned carriage, and it is a most curious revela- 



l 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 181 

tion of the motive power which guided the Queen's 
life that as she sat there she meditated 

" I am thankful that it (the accident) was caused 
by no imprudence of mine, or the slightest devia- 
tion from what my beloved one and I had been in 
the habit of doing, and which he sanctioned and 
approved." 

Dear, limited, superstitious soul ! and in this spirit 
she was governing a great nation like England and 
putting the fault of non-success upon England and 
her statesmen. 

The way for another drive on a pitch-dark night lay 
through a wood, but the coachman, blinded with rain, 
lost his bearings and took them by a road which was 
no road, over hummocks and through deep holes filled 
with water. The Duchess of Athole was with the 
Queen, and General Grey, who was in a carriage in 
front, called back to her to know which way she 
thought they should go, whereupon the modest, 
faithful one, Brown, instantly shouted 

" The Duchess don't know at all where we are." 

Brown's kilt got heavy with rain and the edge of it 
cut his leg at the back, much to Victoria's concern, 
who had the doctor to him, and for several days 
entered in her diary the stages of his progress towards 
recovery. 

Victoria's books on Scotland give no hint that the 
Scotch were not perfection, yet she suffered somewhat 
from their want of manners. Those who lived near 
her had their meed of royalty, but those who lived at 

distance were as curious, as eager and as vulgar as 



182 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

any of her English subjects, and resorted to every 
dodge known to the celebrity hunter to catch a glimpse 
of her. Craithie Church offered the best facility, and 
enterprising owners ran post-chaises and omnibuses 
there on Sundays crammed with sightseers, who made 
a scramble for the best pews or bribed the canny sides- 
men to secure them. For fear of coming off second 
best they carried binoculars, so that they might be 
assured of watching their Queen at her devotions. 
In their exuberant loyalty they would even stand on 
the seats and turn their backs to the altar. Having 
sufficiently adored those in the royal pew, they would 
then take to the open air, and spreading their 
luncheons on the flat tombstones, enjoy the second part 
of the entertainment. 

There were times when her Majesty wearied of this 
and used her own drawing-room as a place of worship, 
allowing certain friends in the district to join in the 
service. Tactics would be changed then by those who 
had sufficient money, and splendid carriages would 
roll to the castle, filled with worshippers of royalty. 
This had to be met by posting detectives in plain 
clothes around Balmoral and about the neighbour- 
hood. So each carriage had to render an account, 
and many a disappointed, well-dressed hooligan was 
sent empty away of his or her Sabbath pleasure. 

In 1878 the Queen bought Ballochbuie Forest, 
which was being sold for its trees, a sale which had 
strong merits, as at least the land would have had a 
chance of being brought under cultivation for it is 
the " forests " of Scotland which have kept it poor. 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 183 

However, the idea hurt the Queen, who thought it 
'desecration, so she purchased it herself on condition 
that the trees were allowed to remain standing. 
Within it, on Creag Doin, she built a cairn, inscribing 
on it 

" Queen Victoria entered into possession of Balloch- 
buie May 15, 1878. The bonniest plaid in Scotland." 
The last words allude to a tradition that Ballochbuie 
was once sold at the point of a dirk by a MacGregor 
to a Farquharson for a tartan plaid. 

When Victoria died she possessed Balmoral, 
Ballochbuie, Birkhall and Abergeldie an aggregate 
)f 50,000 acres. The Lochnager distillery was also 
hers; in the south Osborne was her private property; 
she further had estates at Coburg, the Villa Hohenlohe 
at Baden-Baden, ami the Duchy of Lancaster. 
Osborne and Balmoral had been bought and built by 
royal savings during the life of the Prince Consort, 
and as each place ran into several hundred thousands 
of pounds, it is not difficult to see where the savings on 
the salaries and other departments of the Civil List 
lad gone. 

Sir Edward Russell in a recent book, That Reminds 
Me, gives an anecdote of the Queen, which is 
interesting. 

In talking to a man of standing she remarked that 
she did not like a certain family, and on being asked 
why, replied 

"Oh, because they are very bad to their tenants, 
and many of their cottages are in a horrid state; and 
if anything is done by any tenants at their own expense 



184 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to improve their condition, the first thing the 's do 

is to raise the rent upon them." 

The gentleman said he was glad that she sympa- 
thized with the afflictions of tenants, to which she 
answered 

"Oh, I am a tenant myself. I hold from 

Mr. and I have made many improvements, and 

every time I have made an improvement my rent has 
been raised." 

The gentleman laughed outright, and her Majesty's 
eyes twinkled. 

"Well, ma'am, let me say that this you have 
complained of underlies and is the basis of the whole 
Irish question and the whole Crofter question. It is 
rather amusing to find your Majesty suffering from a 
grievance as a crofter." 

Then her Majesty laughed very much. 

" I can only say," he added, " how good it is to 
find you sharing in the afflictions of the poorest of 
your subjects." 

The Queen's heart was in the right place, as the old 
saying has it, and especially in Scotland might have 
been added, for her Scottish tenants were well looked 
after. But from time to time paragraphs of want 
in Osborne cottages were published. In 1873 some 
of her labourers were discharged for sending a round 
robin to her asking for an increase of wages. They 
were getting 145. a week, but as in the vicinity of 
royalty prices are inflated, this did not go further 
than 1 1 s. elsewhere. They worked from sixty to 
seventy hours a week, so they also asked to leave off 



THE WIDOW IN THE HIGHLANDS 185 

at four on Saturdays and to have sixpence an hour 
for overtime. The Queen sent no answer to the letter, 
but the men were called before the steward, and those 
regarded as ringleaders were dismissed. The rest 
went back to the old conditions. 

Yet there were yearly fetes to the tenants, queenly 
visits to cottagers and certain charities. 

It is said that Victoria would sometimes fall a prey 
to toadies, and take up some relative of one of her 
people, being deeply interested ; and when the person 
in question proved disappointing, she would remark, 
Not very pretty manners, poor thing ! Well, well ! 5: 
It was this personal desire to be kind to individuals 
, r hich would lead her to make of the Court Circular 
in advertising column occasionally. Thus we get, in 
[871, this absurd notice, "Lord Lurgan's famous 
:hampion Irish greyhound has had the honour of 
>eing presented to her Majesty at Windsor." This 
dog had won the Waterloo Cup three times. 

A little later it was, " Madam Hazer has had the 
lonour of exhibiting her dog Minos before the Queen 
id the Royal Family, and her Majesty was very 
pleased with the performance." 

Victoria was extremely fond of dogs, but could not 
bear cats, to stroke a kitten being the nearest she could 
go in showing that animal friendship. Shortly after 
the first Jubilee she was said to be in great grief over 
the death of her dog Noble, and one reporter added 
to his account of this that " Noble had for fifteen years 
mixed with the highest societv." It was a French- 
man who, believing his English immaculate, observed 



186 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

that in regard to her Government the Queen was only 
a $uppy ! A goat that Victoria once gave as a mascot, 
then called a pet, to the Welsh Fusiliers, was well 
behaved for a time, as a Queen's gift should be. But 
he grew tired of virtue, and took to mischief, his 
culminating crime being to butt his colonel when he 
was in the act of pushing in his trouser-strap, thus 
throwing him against a wall and causing black eyes. 
Had it not been for his splendid youthful record the 
goat would have been drummed out of the regiment, 
as it was he was ever after known by the disgraceful 
title of the Rebel. 



CHAPTER XII 

FAMILY JARS 

A more effete, ungracious, uncivilized creature than this 
yellow-faced Persian could not be imagined, but English society, 
while he was in London, prostrated itself before him and his 
ugly jewels as if he were some demi-god fresh from Olympus . . . 
a man without recommendation except that he is called by his 
slaves and courtiers, and by himself, the King of kings and the 
Lord of lords." Lord Ronald Gower : 'Reminiscences.' 

"Marie of Edinburgh made a fuss 

And summoned to her aid her royal dad, 
Because a princess who's most dear to us 

Declined to listen to her foolish fad, 
Or questions of precedence to discuss. 
But if it's true then Marie must take care, 
Lest she be called the little Russian Bear." 

The Hornet. 

DURING these years of royal domestic and semi- 
domestic happenings her Majesty's Government had 
ilso been busy. The Ballot Act was passed, also the 
Irish Land Act of 1870, and the matter before the 
country early in 1873 was the Irish University Bill. 
>n this Gladstone was defeated by three and promptly 
tendered his resignation, which the Queen just as 
)romptly and much more delightedly accepted. Glad- 
stone had bored her to death by wanting her to under- 
stand the intricacies of his bills, and one day she had 

landed over his explanation of the Irish Bill to 

187 



188 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Theodore Martin with the request that he would reduce 
it all to a few lines ! 

So as Disraeli had done his utmost to overthrow 
the Government, bringing members from the far ends 
of the country and even further, she sent for him 
as confidently as she said good-bye to Gladstone, and 
he declined to serve her ! " He could not undertake 
to carry on her Majesty's Government in the present 
House of Commons," and "he would not advise her 
Majesty to recommend a dissolution." 

Such a reply, unparliamentary and unprecedented, 
seemed like that of a mischievous boy who, having 
created havoc, refused to do his share in putting things 
straight ; but in reality it was his way, not exactly well 
principled, of carrying out his own policy. He knew 
that he could not use his little majority, and he wanted 
to turn it into a large one. So while Gladstone had 
to go back to work, and the Queen endured it with 
distress, Disraeli stumped the country discrediting the 
Government, accusing the Ministry of every wicked- 
ness, and explaining that they "sat in a row on the 
Treasury benches," reminding him "of a range of 
extinct volcanoes." 

Early in August Gladstone went to OsHorne to see 
the Queen, and late in August he went to Balmoral 
to stay a few days, during which Victoria displayed 
perfect good-humour and interest in his family, saying 
to Lord Granville "that she had never known Glad- 
stone so remarkably agreeable." 

She had special reason for wanting the help of a 
minister sympathetic to her interests, and Gladstone 



FAMILY JARS 189 

had ever done his best for her in money matters, the 
trouble being that the Prince of Wales was over- 
whelmed with debt, 600,000 being the rumoured sum, 
and either she would have to pay it or the country 
must do so. She had looked backwards into history 
for a precedent, and had found that the debts of 
George IV when Prince had been paid by the nation, 
and she trusted that the same thing would happen 
again. Thus Gladstone was asked to pass a Bill to 
liquidate the Prince's liabilities. He, with his finger 
on the pulse of the nation, dared not, for her own 
sake, accede. He made a suggestion, however, which 
might have been carried into effect had it not been 
for the strong opposition of Sir Charles Dilke. The 
suggestion was that Victoria should transfer to Albert 
Edward some real estate, which would naturally go 
to him at her death; and to circumvent the law that 
this property would become national property and 
therefore inalienable if the heir received it before 
his accession, Gladstone proposed a Bill guaran- 
teeing its remaining personal property. With Dilke 
tabulating the immense royal personal possessions, 
bought perhaps with Civil List money, it proved 
impossible that such a Bill could be allowed to slip 
through. 

The only plan left was that the Queen should pay 
these debts herself, and it was with some justice asked, 
why not? The Prince had been doing her work on 
little more than a fourth of the sum especially allowed 
to her Majesty for the purpose, and though it is more 
than probable that a large proportion of the debts had 



190 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

been contracted in ways that had no relation to State 
concerns, yet it must be remembered that the Prince 
had been deliberately shut out from any intellectual 
share in the country's affairs, and was so much the more 
likely to find amusement by easy and extravagant 
means. 

The Queen could not see that she was responsible, 
so, disappointed and angry at Gladstone's failure, she 
eagerly awaited a change of Government, but though 
I do not know the sequel she probably paid the 
debts, for Abergeldie, a property owned by the Prince 
in Scotland near Balmoral, passed into her hands. It 
may be that Gladstone tried to salve her disappoint- 
ment by bringing in the Crown Private Estates Act, 
for such a one was passed this year, by which the 
Queen was given the power to invest savings like a 
private person, a course hitherto against the law, as 
it was thought undesirable that the monarch should 
be independent of Parliament. 

In later years Victoria rebuked Gladstone strongly 
for making speeches in other places than his own 
constituency, but it did not trouble her in 1873 that 
Disraeli, the leader of the Opposition, broke political 
rules by holding public meetings over the country; 
it was but a means to a good end, and her desires were 
fulfilled in February 1874 when the Ministry went to 
the country and were hopelessly beaten. 

So once more Disraeli stepped under the halo of his 
ambition ! He had conquered the country, and now 
he set himself to conquer the Queen. Two years 
earlier Lady Beaconsfield had died, and Lord Ronald 



FAMILY JARS 101 

Gower tells how at Hughenden Disraeli spoke very 
despondingly of her during her illness 

" ' She suffers,' he groaned, ' so dreadfully at times. 
We have been married thirty-three years, and she has 
never given me a dull moment.' It was quite touch- 
ing to see his distress. His face, generally so emotion- 
less, was filled with a look of suffering and woe that 
nothing but the sorrow of her he so truly loved could 
cause on that impassive countenance." 

When Lady Beaconsfield died her husband refused 
all state and honour for her, and turned his back 
upon the frightful English usage in the matter of 
funerals. At 1.30 the coffin was removed from the 
saloon of Hughenden Manor to a low bier, covered 
with a black velvet pall and carried across the 
grounds by the cottage tenants of the estate to the 
church. 

This sorrow drew the Queen closer to the politician, 
and their friendship strengthened during the next few 
years. Disraeli had no illusions about her Majesty's 
powers. He wasted no time in showing her both sides 
of a question and inviting her to think for herself. 
" Gladstone," he said, " treated the Queen like a public 
department; I treat her like a woman." 

In politics he was quite ready to keep the people 
quiet with small concessions, or even to allow them 
some big measure of domestic reform, provided he 
could also carry on his schemes of enlargement and 
work to secure a brilliant all-world glory for himself. 
Thus with him the Queen felt safe both at home and 
abroad ; she revelled in the " strong Conservative 



192 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Government," and in the idea that it proved England 
to be inimical to Radicalism. 

Disraeli's first step towards the full winning of 
Victoria's heart was to bring in the Public Worship 
Regulation Act, aimed against Ritualism. This de- 
lighted her with her abhorrence of High Church, 
and that Gladstone agreed with that form of worship 
may have added somewhat to her pleasure. The Bill 
passed, and almost straightway became a dead letter. 
It is somewhat amusing that Sir Sidney Lee reports 
the Queen as being extremely disgusted with Glad- 
stone for opposing the next measure, the Scotch 
Church Patronage Bill, for she herself had opposed 
resolutely, thirty years earlier, a scheme of the sort 
w r hen initiated by the Free Kirkers. Now, as Philip 
Clayden said, "it had become a reactionary measure 
by being brought into the world a generation behind 
its time," and could have been of as little benefit as 
the Bill against High Church. Of Gladstone's speech 
in the House against it, Victoria said petulantly, " He 
could so easily have stayed away ! " Surely it was 
evil of Gladstone in the Opposition to oppose the 
leader of the Government ! 

Though Victoria had not made many concessions 
to the public desire to see her, there had been a few 
in the occasional holding of a Court or a drawing- 
room, and an equally occasional one or two nights at 
the Palace. In 1873 she had also entertained the 
Shah of Persia at Buckingham Palace in solitary 
grandeur and at Windsor in royal style. 

The people who had heard that he was bringing 



FAMILY JARS 193 

5,000,000 with him, and had also heard of his harem, 
his jewels and his primitive ways, thronged the streets, 
swarmed over the houses, and shouted themselves 
hoarse when he drove by, and then amused themselves 
with laughter and songs about, " Have you seen the 
Shah, Smoking a cigar," etc. The great people took 
their cue from the Queen, but they had to endure 
insults which she did not hear. That the Shah 
thought them compliments did not make them sweeter. 
He did not admire the English ladies, who were too 
thin, and it is told that when he saw a picture of the 
Fat Woman in a show, he said she was the most 
beautiful woman he had seen in all his journeys, and 
wanted to buy her. The public said with how much 
truth I do not know that when he had chosen the 
woman he thought most beautiful, or rather passable, 
in any assembly, he showed his approbation by spit- 
ting on her gown; until the knowledge had to be 
gently conveyed that the English did not do these 
things. 

Men-of-war met him at sea, Princes Arthur and 
Alfred met him at Dover and the Prince of Wales 
escorted him from Charing Cross to Buckingham 
Palace. When he went to Windsor, which he did 
three times, Leopold, "who does not go anywhere 
away from the Queen," as the Shah wrote in his diary, 
was always on the platform. The day of his arrival, 
being angry with his Greek secretary, he ordered him 
to be executed, and it was in vain that his Grand Vizier 
and Sir Henry Rawlinson protested. He was implac- 
able, until at last he was told that the offender was 



194 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

safely killed and buried in the palace garden. The 
man was secretly sent to Paris to await the return of 
his master there, and one wonders if he eventually got 
off with his life. 

The Shah was invited to the houses of great noble- 
men, and on seeing Trentham Castle, the Duke of 
Sutherland's place, he turned to the Prince of Wales, 
asking if, when he came to the throne, he would not 
have the Duke beheaded. To which the Prince 
replied that there were so many great and rich nobles 
in England that he could not undertake such a clear- 
ance. He was also privileged to see the mausoleum 
at Frogmore, upon which he wrote that he shed tears 
and felt very sad. 

One of the amusing incidents of his stay included 
in the Personal Recollections of C. K. Tuckerman, 
an American took place at Chiswick Gardens, a 
house Which the Prince of Wales then rented from the 
Duke of Devonshire, and where the Queen went to 
meet him. For its comedy of state etiquette during 
Victorian times, it is as delicately ironic as the incident 
of Miss Matty's new carpet in Cran/ord. There 
were present every member of the royal family, also 
the Russian Tsarevitch and his consort, whose visit 
to the heir apparent was quite overshadowed by the 
potentate. 

" In the middle of the lawn, in front of the garden 
walks, two large canvas marquees or pavilions had 
been erected, facing each other at the distance of a 
few yards, between which extended a broad strip of 
crimson carpet. Over one of the pavilions floated the 



FAMILY JARS 195 

banner of England, and over the other the rising sun 
and royal arms of Persia. It looked like a scene 
upon the stage, and the performance that followed 
heightened the theatrical effect. Perhaps if I present 
the spectacle in a dramatic way it will be more vivid 
to the reader. 

" SCENE I. The Queen arrives upon the grounds, 
with her usual punctuality, accompanied by her suite. 
Taking the arm of the Prince of Wales, her Majesty 
passes down the line of guests, graciously acknowledg- 
ing their silent greetings, and, proceeding to her 
pavilion, disappears therein. A long pause ensues, 
owing to the tardy arrival of the Shah, who, with 
Oriental moderation, seems in no haste to put in an 
appearance. Meanwhile the spectators keep their 
eyes fixed on the canvas that conceals their Sovereign, 
as if, like the palaces of Aladdin, it may vanish into 
air should their attention be for an instant diverted 
from it. 

SCENE II. Arrival of his Majesty of Persia and 
suite, the latter consisting of half a dozen royal high- 
icsses and as many excellencies. He, in turn, takes 
the arm of the Prince of Wales, and is conducted to 
his own pavilion, into which he disappears. 

SCENE III. Reappearance of the Shah at the 
>pening of his pavilion, from whence he walks with 
leasured steps down the crimson carpet, and, entering 
the Queen's marquee, disappears from view. 



196 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

" SCENE IV. Reappearance of his Majesty, who 
retraces his steps, and again disappears beneath the 
royal canvas. 

" SCENE V. Reappearance of the Queen at the 
opening of her pavilion, who proceeds to return the 
royal visit, and disappears from view. 

" SCENE VI. Her Majesty emerges from the Shah's 
pavilion, and, retracing her steps to her own, disap- 
pears from view. 

" SCENE VII. Simultaneous reappearance of the 
two sovereigns at the openings of their respective 
marquees, whence they advance towards each other 
with mathematical precision until they meet in the 
exact middle of the strip of crimson. Here, for a 
moment, the Shah seems at a loss to know what next 
is expected from him, and stands like an awkward 
actor who has forgotten his part; but her Majesty sets 
him right by gracefully taking his arm and walking 
away with her illustrious visitor, nntil lost to view down 
the long avenue of ancestral trees." 

Which of the two most enjoyed this punctiliousness, 
the Queen or the Shah, and did it satisfy a social need 
or was it engaged in for the pleasure of the assembled 
multitude ? 

When the Shah left our shores he noted in his 
diary, " It was evident that the people of England 
were all sorry and grieved in their hearts at our 
departure." 



FAMILY JARS 197 

The visit of the Tsarevitch was not without mean- 
ing, and had been prefaced by the diplomatic but 
secret mission to Victoria of Count Schouvaloff earlier 
in the year. To both she was very amiable, for the 
suggestion was a marriage between the Grand Duchess 
Marie and Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. When 
it was announced every one seemed pleased, excepting 
Mr. Peter Taylor and eighteen members of Parlia- 
ment, who voted against the second reading of the 
Bill for allowing Alfred an additional 10,000 a year. 
When this was carried in July, Gladstone laid stress 
on the Tsar's promise to allow his daughter 6000 
yearly and a pension of 30,000; but the report went 
that she would receive 20,000 as an annuity and a 
dowry of 200,000, which was certainly more likely. 
A complaint was made that the Bill had been intro- 
duced very late in the session, and Gladstone, usually 
a very truthful man, excused this by saying that it 
was a case of deep love on both sides, and lapsing 
into poetry, continued 

" Does my honourable friend think that the senti- 
ments of love can be restrained ? 

'Love, free as air, at sight of human ties 
Spreads his light wings and in a moment flies.' 

These things are not under my control with regard 
to royal persons or any one else. I cannot fix the time 
at which the invader should be allowed to occupy 
their hearts, and to bring to an issue these great 
questions." 

The people, who had been solemnly assured that 
the union was in no way prompted by policy, were 



pleased with it, for they saw that it might prove a 
safeguard against quarrels with Russia. They were 
tired of the constant scares about that country, as well 
as doubtful of the British policy of making a pet of 
the Turk. They were also glad that a rich bride had 
been chosen rather than some unknown German. 

The marriage took place in January 1874, and when 
the bride and bridegroom came home to London on 
a cold, snowy March day, Queen Victoria did honour 
where honour was expected, and went to meet her new 
daughter-in-law, driving with her through the streets. 
" How she and the Princess did shake their heads 
incessantly right and left, as if they had indiarubber 
necks, and that for miles ! " commented one whose 
name I have lost. 

A weekly paper, The Hornet, much in vogue just 
then, hailed Marie as a Russian fairy, saying, " She 
has burst upon the Court like golden sunshine in a 
fusty, dusty room," and further declared that Victoria 
could not resist her, and allowed her to dance at will 
into her private rooms without announcement. Under 
this influence, "we hope to see the Queen out of 
mourning, heading a country dance on the lawn of 
Buckingham Palace with some gay gallant like Dizzy." 

This may give some readers a shock, but they must 
remember that the widowed Queen had already in the 
Highlands danced with a much less courtier-like 
person. 

Speculation was rife about the Russian bride, for it 
was thought that she would not comprehend or agree 
to "the German ceremonial too long observed by the 



FAMILY JARS 199 

royal family," that she would have nothing to do with 
that saving system which the people insisted in spite 
of all denial was the Germanic attribute of their liege 
lady, the Queen. 

The sad thing for the Princess was that she had 
married the most careful and saving member of the 
Queen's family, and one who, wanting the kindliness 
and graciousness of his elder brother, was distinctly 
unpopular, also that he had an elder brother. Albert 
Edward, in spite of his sins, was a favourite with the 
public, while it would have been a rash person who 
spoke evil of Alexandra. The Schleswig-Holstein 
question, her beauty, and later her kindliness and her 
cheerful shouldering of the work of an uncrowned 
queen, had made such an impression upon the vulner- 
able heart of John Bull that he went so far as to say 
that she retained for the royal family "the personal 
popularity which it had lost through the nun-like 
retirement of Queen Victoria." 

It was a matter of public remark that at this time 
there were two Courts, the holiday seeking Court of 
the Queen and the social Court of the Prince of Wales, 
also that the Queen and Prince scarcely ever appeared 
anywhere together, and the one did not know the plans 
of the other. Thus on a memorable day when the 
Queen emerged into the view of her people, by going 
to open Victoria Park in the East End, the Prince 
was to have been installed Grand Master of the 
United Order of Knights Templars and St. John, at 
Willis's Rooms. To avoid the gossip which might 
have been produced by the two reports appearing in 



200 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the same morning's paper, the Prince asked postpone- 
ment of his ceremony for a week, and went to stay 
with Lord Carrington. 

Princess Marie Alexandrovna did not understand 
the intricacies of English Court and social life. She, 
being an Imperial Highness, felt that she had done 
some condescension in marrying into the family of a 
mere queen, and she was certain that her rank would 
ensure her a place second only to the Queen herself. 
That Alexandra, the daughter of the king of tiny 
Denmark, should, dream of taking precedence soon 
became a very sore point. So she constantly tried to 
upset that delicate system which aims at reducing 
social rank to definite law, but she might just as well 
have demanded the obeisance of the sun and moon. 
Partly realizing her failure, she haughtily declared 
that she would not go to Court at all, and sulkily 
retired after calling upon her father for help. 

The Times announced with dignity that as the 
Princess was enceinte she had retired from society. 
The Tsar, however, promptly came to succour his 
neglected daughter, and stayed a week, Marie being 
constantly by his side. At a state ball held by the 
Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in his honour, 
the two were inseparable all the evening, and seemed 
equally amused when the younger members of the 
royal family, led by the Marquis of Lome in Highland 
costume, bare-kneed and debonair, danced a Scotch 
reel. There is no doubt that the Tsar did his best 
to adjust the grievance, and after his departure his 
daughter's name was published in the Court Circular 



FAMILY JARS 201 

next to that of the Princess of Wales, as Her Royal 
and Imperial Highness the Duchess of Edinburgh and 
Grand Duchess of Russia ! But Marie did not take 
with kindly heart to the knowledge that as wife of a 
younger son she could not stand first, and the people, 
knowing this, never again saw her in the glamour which 
had surrounded her coming. 

There was another person who might, with justice, 
have asked a nobler place in the Court circle, and 
that was the Marquis of Lome, to whom was given 
no official recognition, and who, though thought fit 
to marry an English princess, was not thought fit to 
sit next her at table, or with her to enter the doorway 
reserved for royalty. The result was that Princess 
Louise was often absent from royal functions, and 
later often absent from her husband's side. It was 
odd that the Queen, who had suffered bitterly when 
abroad from Germanic etiquette on this point, should 
in her own Court have allowed her own daughter to 
experience the same discomfort. However, it was the 
same intricate machinery at work, and heaven knows 
what nobleman might not have been annoyed if Lome 
had been treated with respect. 



PART II 
IMPERIALISM 



CHAPTER XIII 

YACHTS IN THE SOLENT 

"The Mistletoe crept along like a snail, 
For the wind scarce bellied a single sail; 
The steamer was going at sixteen knots, 
For the Queen was dying to see her Scots; 
And several lubbers of high degree 
Were on her bridge, but they didn't see 
That they'd sealed the helpless Mistletoe's fate, 
If they kept their course at such a rate. 
Oh ! the Mistletoe bow ! " 

' Edward the Seventh.' 

BY the year 1875 the Queen was fairly happy in her 
family and quite happy in her state relationships; 
indeed, she was more at peace than she had been for 
a long time. Then into the midst of her content came 
a bolt from the blue, at least so it seemed, though the 
real cause was her royal royal is not quite the right 
word, however appreciation of her dignity, which 
allowed her to place herself above all law and rule. 

When she drove or when she was on the sea she 
demanded speed, speed, and yet more speed, and she 
could not conceive the right of any one to stand in 
her way. In the first years of her reign she rode at 
a gallop through the roads and parks ; on her first visit 
to Edinburgh her cortege dashed through the streets 
at a gallop, to the anger of the inhabitants; in 1848 her 

yacht Fairy was bearing her over the Solent at its 

205 



206 

greatest speed, when it ran down a boat full of people, 
four of whom were drowned. Now, twenty-seven years 
later, the thing occurred again. In the first accident 
the yacht's commander was Lord Adolphus Fitzclar- 
ence, son of William IV and Dorothy Jordan; in the 
second Prince Leiningen, son of Victoria's half-sister 
Feodore, was the responsible person, his under officer 
being a Captain Welsh. 

During August each year the Solent became the 
happy sailing ground for little vessels. A Mr. E. S. 
Heywood, a visitor to Ryde with his wife and her sisters 
had, with the latter, the two Misses Peel, been for a 
two days' cruise on his schooner yacht. A rule of the 
sea provides that a steamer gives place to a sailing 
vessel when on the starboard tack, for obvious reasons, 
and Heywood's ship, the Mistletoe, was keeping 
steadily but slowly, for there was no wind, on its 
course, when the Queen's yacht, the Alberta, was seen 
to be coming towards them at the rate of sixteen or 
seventeen knots an hour. No one dreamed of an acci- 
dent, but Prince Leiningen if he was anything but a 
mere figurehead evidently thought the yacht would 
save itself somehow, and did not attempt to alter his 
ship's course until he was within twenty yards of the 
Mistletoe. The latter boat tried, too late, to avert 
collision, and it was rammed nearly amidships. 

Commander Fullerton of the Alberta and some 
sailors plunged into the sea to save people, but 
Leiningen at once ordered his vessel to be backed, 
which caused the Mistletoe to sink in three minutes. 
He did this, he said, to prevent spars falling upon the 




YACHTS IN THE SOLENT 207 

Alberta, and so even when the accident had happened, 
lives which might have been saved were lost unneces- 
sarily, for the sinking of the Mistletoe caused the very 
thing which the thoughtless German wished to avoid, 
in that it dragged the mainmast and rigging across the 
Alberta's bowsprit. These in their fall carried Miss 
Peel, the master, and Captain Fullerton down with 
the vessel. Fullerton rose at once, the master was 
picked up in a drowning state and died in half an hour; 
Miss Peel's body was found entangled in the rigging ; 
a dead sailor was also picked up some days later, and 
two others were injured. 

Victoria stood on the bridge of the Alberta, wringing 
her hands, through this dreadful scene, and as was 
expressly stated in the papers giving orders that 
every effort should be made to save the persons on 
board ! but Captain Fullerton and the sailors who 
plunged did not wait for orders, royal or otherwise. 
The reports also laid great stress upon the fact that 
her Majesty spoke to the Miss Peel who was saved 
and made constant inquiries after the injured, and that 
on reaching Gosport she gave orders that no efforts 
were to be spared on behalf of the sufferers, and every 
attention was to be paid to their wants. Had she not 
done so it would have been monstrous, but to report 
such natural acts was to reduce a tragedy to the limits 
of the Court Circular. 

The Alberta was half an hour late in arriving at 
Gosport, where anxiety was felt for its safety, so 
punctual was the Queen, and when it drew up in 
Clarence Yard it was noted that its bowsprit was 



208 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

carried away and the bows broken. The royal family 
immediately went to the train, but her Majesty was 
very anxious and dubious about starting, as she feared 
that, the train being behind time, some accident might 
happen. However, she was assured that a late train 
was always looked for more anxiously than one running 
punctually, and that every precaution would be taken. 1 

This accident made a great sensation, which re- 
curred for months, revived by Coroners, Admiralty 
and Parliamentary Inquiries. But the sensation was 
not so much horror at the accident accidents had 
happened before but horror at the indifference shown 
publicly by the Queen. Never once was a word or 
sign allowed to reach her people that she felt sorrow 
or wished to make reparation. She rode over her sub- 
jects and passed on to the north, and papers reported 
the ordinary, trivial occurrences taking place which 
were usual at Balmoral. She may have been pros- 
trated with grief, her nerves may have been shaken to 
pieces; if so, no one heard of it, and she was judged 
according to what people knew. Her only activity 
was displayed in trying to save her servants from blame 
and in endeavouring to fasten the fault upon the 
victims of the disaster. 

There were several coroner's inquests, but informa- 
tion about one will suffice, though in all attempts were 
made to suppress free disclosures. Leiningen was 
called as a witness at the first, and refused to answer 
a question until he had read aloud a letter he had 
received from his queen-aunt, which frankly condoled 

1 Railway Reminiscences. By Superintendent G. P. Neele. 






YACHTS IN THE SOLENT 209 

with him in this trouble and expressed her Majesty's 
thorough confidence in his ability and carefulness. It 
was evidently intended to impress coroner and jury in 
his favour. 

Yet he had to admit that the Alberta was going at a 
speed which was dangerous in so crowded a sea, that 
it was an unbreakable rule that a steamer must give 
way to a sailing vessel on the starboard tack, and that 
had the Alberta's helm been put to starboard she would 
have passed at the stern of the Mistletoe; also that no 
order was given to alter the Alberta's course until she 
was within fifteen or twenty yards of the yacht. One 
of the quartermasters declared that the Alberta had 
got into such a position that she would have run the 
schooner down in any case. 

The commander of the Victoria and Albert, which 
was following the Alberta, gave curious evidence. He 
spoke of "the speed at which the royal yachts are 
obliged to go," and on being questioned as to his 
meaning, replied 

"Her Majesty, having the fastest yachts built for 
the special purpose of passing to her residence at the 
Isle of Wight, she is desirous to make the passage as 
rapidly as possible. The officers conducting the royal 
yacht were at the same time to take every precaution 
to ensure the safety of the vessel at the speed at which 
it may be travelling. It is the wish of her Majesty to 
travel fast. I do not wish to convey the meaning that 
royal yachts are to run over everything to oblige others 
to give way. Every care is taken. They are built fast, 
and what does the Queen have fast vessels for surely 



210 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

not to travel at four miles an hour ! Sixteen knots is 
the usual speed, or faster if they can go. It is like a 
railway train. If a man steps on the line just in front 
of the train the driver could not prevent an accident." 
Such a statement showed the perversity of reasoning 
which justified the matter to the royal servants; for 
the only likeness between the yacht and the train was 
in the use of steam, the train having no liberty of move- 
ment. But beyond that was the absolute belief that 
if the Queen wished to make the Solent and the bays 
near Ryde dangerous she had a perfect right to do so. 
One juror tried to get a definite opinion from Mr. 
Heywood, who had been picked up nearly drowned, as 
to where the blame lay, and turning to the coroner, the 
latter asked 

" Is it fair for me to say that I think the greatest 
blame attaches to those on board her Majesty's yacht ? " 
The coroner decided that it was unfair. 
It was declared in Parliament, in April 1875, that one 
of the jurors was a friend of Captain Welsh, and the 
other was so dependent on the dockyard that he did nc 
dare to agree in a verdict hostile to the officers. It 
was further asserted that an officer called on the coroner 
and urged the inclusion of these two men on the jury. 
Whether this was true or not, the two men stood out 
against the verdict of manslaughter brought in by the 
other ten, and the jury had to be dismissed. The 
second jury, knowing what was required, brought it in 
as accident, adding that the officers of the royal yacht 
ordered excessive speed, and that their watch was ill 
kept. On leaving the court at the end of the inquest 



YACHTS IN THE SOLENT 211 

the officers were mobbed by an excited crowd and had 
to be given police protection. 

The Admiralty Court of Inquiry was held in 
camera, the only thing known by the public being that 
Leiningen was pronounced blameless and Welsh was 
reprimanded. At once the angry people declared 
Victoria had taken means to protect her nephew. 
Certainly the relationship had stood him in good stead. 

The Queen was injudicious enough to have a letter 
sent directly after the Gosport verdict to Lord Exeter, 
President of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club at Cowes, 
which ran as follows 

" It has appeared in the course of the recent inquiry 
at Gosport that it is a common practice for private 
yachts to approach the royal yacht when her Majesty 
is on board, from motives of loyalty or curiosity. It 
is evident that such a proceeding must at all times be 
attended with considerable risks, and in summer, when 
the Solent is crowded with vessels, such manoeuvres 
are extra dangerous. The Queen has therefore com- 
manded me to request that you will kindly assist her 
Majesty in making it known to all owners of yachts 
how earnestly the Queen hopes that this practice, which 
may lead to lamentable results, should be discon- 
tinued." 

This letter further inflamed feeling against the 
Queen, for it was taken to mean that she blamed Mr. 
Heywood, though it had been shown that he and his 
party were at tea in the saloon until there was a cry 
of danger and were not royalty-hunting. It was also 
taken to mean that Victoria did not intend to lessen 



212 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

her speed. The members of the club were furious and 
instructed their secretary to reply that, in the opinion 
of the club, "the royal yachts in the Solent violated 
without restraint the ordinary rules of navigation." 

Punch apologized for the Queen's letter by saying 
that half of it had been lost, and that in the missing 
part the Queen had commanded General Ponsonby to 
remind all officers of her ships to keep a careful look- 
out, and never under any circumstances to go at exces- 
sive speed. Above all, it was to be borne in mind that 
the maritime rule of the road between steam and sailing 
vessels admitted of no exception, whatever be the dig- 
nity of the flag or the rank of the passenger on board 
the steamer. 

It was stated that Victoria had compensated the 
widows of the drowned men, and it is impossible not 
to hope earnestly that it was so, for she had great 
sympathy with those who lost by death. The news- 
papers asserted, however, that it was not true, that she 
had not given a penny, but that it was the Admiralty 
which had allotted 400 to one and 500 to the other, 
on condition that these terms were accepted as a full 
discharge of all claims. Heywood, it was said, had set 
an example of patience, self-control and personal liber- 
ality which put royalty and officialdom to the blush, for 
he had paid his crew their wages in full and had com- 
pensated them for their losses. He received .3000 
from the Admiralty, which could not, however, have 
compensated him for the loss of his schooner. One 
outspoken paper asked the following questions : " Has 
the Queen sent Heywood a cheque for the loss of his 




YACHTS IN THE SOLENT 213 

yacht? Has she given the crew a single sixpence? 
Has she done what would have been more queenly 
still, ordered a new yacht for Mr. Heywood? Has 
she given orders that the speed of her yacht should be 
lessened? Has she reprimanded her officers? She 
has done none of these things, but has done what 
would influence a verdict and has insulted the subject 
who has been so generously forbearing." 

Very bitter was the feeling against the Queen a 
bitterness caused by her resolute silence, by her refusal 
to acknowledge that she or those about her could be 
wrong, and the indirect attempt to put blame on other 
shoulders. It all came back to the old cause of dis- 
sension between her and her people, the difference in 
the point of view concerning what was royal, the differ- 
ence between the German view and the English, the 
difference between the sovereign who felt personally 
above law, and the ideal sovereign who was the proud 
upholder of law in every way to her people. 



CHAPTER XIV 

QUEEN-EMPRESS 

"In the fulness of years and of successful management the 
Lady of the House was buried, and her memory is cherished 
still but it is the memory of the manager of the 'Queen's Head; ' 
and not of the ' Empress's Crown.' Under the former she had 
won her high repute; the other could add nothing to it." The 
Blot on the Queen's Head. 

"Those who were present at dinner when Disraeli proposed 
the Queen's health as Empress of India, with a little speech as 
flowery as the oration of a Maharajah, used to describe the 
pretty smiling bow, half a curtsey, which the Queen made as he 
sat down. It is still remembered how much more she used to 
smile in conversation with him than she did with any other of 
her ministers." ' Quarterly Review,' April 1901. 

DISRAELI, having found himself obliged to give 
much attention to domestic affairs, was yet dreaming 
of wider glory. Like Bismarck, he did not find the 
highest place in his nation's councils enough; he 
wanted to have the world as a playground, to feel 
that his mind had influenced great affairs in great 
countries, that he was not only a power in England, 
but in Europe, in Asia and in Africa. It was at least 
a great ambition, and so long as his work was benefi- 
cent it was worthy of praise. He began by turning 
his attention to the truculent country near home, for 
Germany had been behaving in a very suspicious way. 

In 1874 the Germans were fortifying without stint 

Strasburg and Metz, and adding a chain of detached 

214 



QUEEN-EMPRESS 215 

forts of incredible strength. France's only new fron- 
tier work was Epinal, and later Toul, Paris being 
made the strong place of the country. Bismarck, 
afraid, or pretending to be afraid, of France attempt- 
ing retaliation, was preparing for a second Franco- 
Prussian war. 

The Queen heard much of what was going on in 
Berlin and Darmstadt from her daughters and others, 
and she and her minister did their best to put an end 
to the mischief. She implored the Tsar to do what 
he could to prevent sluch a calamity, and the Tsar 
wrote to Emperor William, which gave Bismarck a 
fine opportunity for uttering spiteful things about 
Victoria. She also wrote personally to William, and 
he, like the pious hypocrite he was, answered in pained 
surprise that she could deem him capable of such an 
enormity as plunging Europe into war ; altogether, had 
not facts proved all her contentions, the Queen might 
have experienced the mortifying feeling of having 
been an interfering busybody over nothing. But she 
knew and all the others knew that she was right, and 
though, had Germany been thoroughly prepared and 
ready to surprise the world with some false charge 
of French treachery, the war would not have been 
delayed because of Victoria, it is certain that the 
detection of their only half-completed plans destroyed 
them for the time. 

Disraeli's next good deed was to send the Prince 
of Wales to India, a plan which synchronized with 
some public criticisms of the Prince, who, being tired 
of his occupation of making embroidery for the royal , 



216 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

reputation, had broken out in a new place. He had 
begun to vary his public good deeds by displaying 
an intense interest in horse-racing and horse-rearing, 
which shocked the unco' guid. The Daily News 
warned him against following the devious ways of his 
great-uncle, "who, if the first gentleman in England 
in manners, was also the most vulgar ruffian in Europe 
in morals," and advised him without any reference to 
what might have been the Queen's wishes to fill that 
vacant place of confidential agent of the monarchy 
between the sovereign and her ministers which so 
badly needed filling. Others followed this lead, and 
Albert Edward was much in the position of the men 
and the donkey, though he never allowed himself to 
be driven to the extremity of carrying the donkey 
himself. 

The journey to India relieved him from this affec- 
tionate care, and it placed him for the first time before 
the world in an important way as the representative 
of the English Crown. Alexandra had to stay at 
home in accordance with the charming Victorian 
custom concerning husbands and wives; and the 
enthusiastic Mary of Teck, meeting the Princess, 
wrote 

" I thought her lovelier than ever. She is a great 
darling, and I just adore her. Though I am quite in 
favour of Wales going to India, I grieve for her at 
the long separation, and wish she could have gone 
with him, if only for a part of the time." * 

1 The Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. By Sir 
C. Kinloch-Cooke. 




QUEEN EMPRESS 217 

The Prince and Princess were at Balmoral just 
before the departure for the East, and the Queen 
arranged "various details of this anxious journey to 
India." In making his adieux Albert Edward said 
good-bye to Lohlein, ex-valet to his father, also to 
Brown; and the Queen wrote 

" I saw how that began to try him, and I felt nearly 
upset myself when Brown shook him by the hand and 
said, ' God bless your Royal Highness, and bring you 
safe back ! '" 

One wonders if the Prince appreciated the initiative 
being taken by the servant as much as he welcomed 
the good wish. 

The Prime Minister followed this good idea with 
an astute stroke of business for which England should 
be ever grateful to him. The Khedive, who was on 
the verge of bankruptcy, held 175,000 shares out of 
the 400,000 in the Suez Canal, which he offered to 
France. The editor of the Pall Mall Gazette at the 
time was Frederick Greenwood, of whom George 
Meredith once said 

"Greenwood was not only a great journalist, he 
had a statesman's head. The national interests were 
always urgent at his heart." He alone knew of the 
Khedive's desire, and promptly communicated it to 
Disraeli. The latter wasted no time, but, with the 
secrecy that he loved, bought the shares for England 
for 4,000,000. He then astounded his Ministry and 
the world with his announcement. It is to be noted 
to Mr. Greenwood's honour that he did not publish 
the startling transaction in his paper until it suited 



218 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the Prime Minister's plans. When people congratu- 
lated Disraeli on this brilliant stroke, it is said that 
he wagged his head in a mysterious way and hinted 
that this was only part of his scheme and there was 
more to follow. 

At the beginning of the session 1876 some of the 
" more " was disclosed : the Queen was to have a new 
title, but what was for a time kept secret; then at 
last it was announced that she was to be an empress. 
The people of England were electrified, unpleasantly, 
for great things had been done through many centuries 
by kings or queens of England, and that these 
honoured names should be overlaid by an Eastern 
title, cheaply gained at the word of a minister of 
Eastern origin, annoyed people of all politics and 
classes. What, they asked, was there about the title 
to make it desired? Where were the emperors of 
France, where were the ancient emperors of Ger- 
many, whose regalia still lies uselessly in the treasure 
house of Austria? The Emperor in Germany but 
not of Germany got no reverence in England for his 
new semi-imperialism, the Emperor of Mexico had 
been shot, the Emperor of Brazil could give no weight 
to the word, the emperors of Russia, autocrats as 
they were, had often to pay with their lives for their 
title. 

That Disraeli, with a majority of 105, could do just 
anything he pleased every one knew, but the sentimen 
of England was against the change. As Sir Willia 
Harcourt said, " Patriotism and loyalty sentiments 
the strongest in our nature are made of ancien 



QUEEN-EMPRESS 219 

associations. It is for these things that great men 
have been proud to live, and good men have dared 
to die." 

Every one quoted the passage from King John 

"You were crowned before 
And the high royalty was ne'er plucked off, 

Therefore, to be possessed with double pomp, 

To guard a title that was rich before, 

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, 

To throw a perfume on the violet, 

To smooth the ice, or add another hue 

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light 

To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, 

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess." 

Disraeli was depicted as Aladdin's magician offer- 
ig new crowns for old; he was accused of intending 
demand that a sum should be voted to white- 
wash Westminster Abbey; and Victoria was asked 
whether she would rather be " Victoria, Dei Gratia 
Angliae Regina" or "Victoria, Disraeli Gratia Indiae 
Imperatrix " ? 

Disraeli liked the jibes, but he saw that some limit 
must be put on the idea, and promised that it should 
in no circumstances be used except in reference to 
India. Victoria was as delighted as a child with a 
new toy. It would put her even with the Russian 
potentate anyhow, and Marie Alexandrovna would no 
longer have cause to regard the English family as 
inferior to her own, while Disraeli persuaded her that 
so new and great an added honour would, with her 
poorer and discontented subjects, repair the torn 
prestige of her royalty. To ensure this she consented 



220 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to go in semi-state to open a new wing of the London 
Hospital, thus giving the East End a chance of seeing 
her; and Punch published a cartoon showing her 
standing by the bedside of a little patient, and softly 
touching the child's hair, saying 

" My darling, I hope you will be better now ! " 

" ' Queen of the East ' is the best title of all," said 
Punch. 

However, Victoria, prompted by Disraeli, thought 
that all who opposed the idea were doing so purely 
from party motives ; she could not conceive that there 
was real loyalty and a dislike of snobbishness behind 
the opposition, even though many Conservatives 
joined it. She used her influence where she hoped 
it would be effective, and, to the intense astonishment 
of Lord Shaftesbury, invited him to dine at Windsor 
and stay the night of March u, it being over twenty 
years since he had been her guest. 

" He was satisfied that it must be for some especial 
object, and he had little doubt that it related to the 
question then uppermost in men's minds the Royal 
Titles Bill. Although the weather was inclement 
Lord Shaftesbury went to Windsor. 

" ' I dread it/ he wrote on the previous day ; ' the 
cold, the evening-dress, the solitude, for I am old, 
and dislike being far away from assistance should I 
be ill at night. . . . She sent for me in 1848 to consult 
me on a very important matter. Can it be so now ? ' 

"'March i^tk. Returned from Windsor. I am 
sure it was so, though not distinctly avowed. Her 
Majesty personally said nothing. . . .' 



QUEEN-EMPRESS 221 

" The views that Lord Shaftesbury expressed at 
Windsor he was requested by the Lord-in-waiting to 
communicate to Mr. Disraeli, and this was accordingly 
done. These views were in every way opposed to 
the proposed title," and Lord Shaftesbury moved an 
address in the House of Lords, praying her Majesty 
not to take it. 1 

It was evident from Disraeli's reply in the House 
that he himself did not look upon the matter as of 
dignified importance, but rather as a pretty present 
to the Queen, for he treated it with great levity. He 
assured the members that Milton's Satan twice 
addressed Eve as Empress, that Spencer had dedi- 
cated his Faerie Queene to the " magnificent Empress 
Elizabeth," and added further that a twelve-year-old 
schoolgirl had written him that in Whitaker's Almanack 
the Queen was already described as Empress of 
India. Robert Lowe asked with contempt whether 
he wished the House to think as meanly of the subject 
as he did himself, and the number of dissentients 
greatly increased. 

The bill passed, of course, under the promise that, 
instead of the limitation of the title being inserted 
in the bill, the proclamation should declare that the 
title of empress was to be localized in India alone. 
But the proclamation declared nothing of the sort, 
the only condition being that Victoria should not call 
herself Empress of England, which led to the raking 
up of the whole question again. A lively scene 
occurred through a rash speech of Bob Lowe's at a 

1 The Life of Lord Shaftesbury. By Edwin Hodder. 



222 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

dinner at Retford, in which he voiced his strong 
suspicion that "at least two previous ministers have 
entirely refused to have anything to do with such a 
change. More pliant persons have now been found, 
and I have no doubt the thing will be done." 

Gladstone wrote to say that the Queen had never 
made any such suggestion to him, but Disraeli was 
furious, as much for himself as for his monarch, as 
he said it held him up to public infamy as servile. 
Victoria entrusted him with a definite contradiction 
of the statement, and Disraeli violently denounced 
Lowe, thundering at him and banging the table, and 
losing himself in a really fine spell of rhetoric gone 
mad. Justin MacCarthy suggested that it would have 
been better had the Prime Minister contradicted the 
charge quietly, and not, by " this boisterous and furious 
denunciation," have dragged the dignity of the Crown 
through the mud of a parliamentary squabble. 

Victoria allowed herself little restriction in the use 
of the new title, for within the year she signed all 
English documents as Victoria R. and I., and in 1893 
caused Ind. Imp. to be engraved on British coins. 
However, to the people of England the imperial title 
is still unfamiliar and almost non-existent. 

Disraeli had given the Queen her wish, and she in 
return made him a lord, he becoming Lord Beacons- 
field at the end of the session of 1876. The Queen 
was proclaimed Empress of India on May i, and on 
the following ist of January Lord Lytton made the 
proclamation in that country at a Durbar. In far 
places the colonels of regiments announced it to 



QUEEN-EMPRESS 223 

assembled crowds. One is said to have insisted upon 
doing it in Hindustanee in honour of the occasion, 
and part of his speech ran 

" Pigs ! The Queen-Empress has sent to me a 
number of cats, which I will now distribute among 
you. She requests that you will hang them round your 
i necks and continue to wear them in that manner." 

This affair had kept Victoria's name well before 
the public, which forgot to grumble, and she, being 
pleased with her ministers, forgot in her turn to feel 
irritated and perverse with her people. Thus, demand 
being withdrawn, she was more ready to give, and 
appeared several times in London. She attended a 
great concert at Albert Hall, went to inspect the 
elaborate Albert Memorial, in which had been placed 
the gilded figure of the Prince Consort : " My gilty 
dad," as Albert Edward was reported to have flip- 
pantly said. She also attended the funeral in West- 
| minster Abbey of Lady Augusta Stanley. 

Another of her ladies, Lady Caroline Harrington, 
had died suddenly at Kensington Palace, and the 
Queen went up from Windsor, carrying many flowers, 
that she might once again look on her waiting-woman's 
face. In this decade she lost Dr. Norman Macleod 
and her stepsister 'Feodore, while in 1876 died a 
woman to whom she had early in her reign been 
kind, the wife of the Duke of Sussex, whom she had 
created Duchess of Inverness. Of her Princess Mary 
wrote 

" I, alas ! no longer have my kind neighbour, the 
dear little Duchess, to fall back upon." For her was 



224 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

opened the tomb in Kensal Green in which lay the 
old royal Duke. 

Lord John Russell died in 1878 at Pembroke Lodge, 
and the next year the Prince Imperial was killed in 
South Africa. But there were two other deaths, more 
dreadful and intimate, which brought her much 
sorrow: one in 1873, when a little son of Princess 
Alice's fell out of a window before his mother's eyes, 
and, falling twenty feet upon the stones below, died 
in a few hours; the other was five years later, on the 
melancholy i4th of December, when Princess Alice, 
having nursed her family through diphtheria, suc- 
cumbed herself to that disease. There was a peculiar 
sympathy between Victoria and this daughter, and the 
blow was very heavy. The whole country grieved 
with her, for it had been much impressed with the 
Princess's fine qualities. She was buried in Germany, 
but at her desire her body was wrapped in the Union 
Jack. 



CHAPTER XV 

A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 

"When the Government ordered the fleet to the Straits, 
They surely encountered the hardest of fates, 
For the order, scarce given, at once was recalled, 
And the Russians were not in the slightest appalled. 
And every one says who has heard the debates, 
It's the Cabinet now, not the fleet, in the straits." 

Sir H. W. Lucy : ' Later Peeps in Parliament.' 

"A health to Jingo first, and then 

A health to shell, and then to shot ! 
The man who hates not other men, 

I deem no perfect patriot. 
To all who hold old England mad, 

We drink; to all who'd tax her food ! 
We pledge the man who hates the Rad ! 
We drink to Bartle Frere and Froude ! 

Drinks all round ! 
Here's to Jingo, king and crowned ! 

To the great cause of Jingo, drink, my boys ! 
And the great name of Jingo, round and round ! " 
Anonymous parody of Tennyson's 'Hands All Round.' 

THE absolute loyalty of Queen Victoria to the 
one-time opinions of her dead husband helped to 
lead England occasionally into devious ways. The 
Crimean War was the result of an idea in England 
that Turkey in Europe was necessary to the interests 
of this country, and once the war was started the Queen 
and Prince upheld it heart and soul. Albert had the 
usual German hatred of Russia, and deplored the 
9 22 5 



226 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Prussian tendency to court the Muscovite as an ally, 
expressing himself with astonishing frankness in his 
letters. 

In 1875 came the beginning of another incident 
between Russia and Turkey, and the Queen followed 
exactly the same course as had been pursued over 
twenty years earlier, and unfortunately she had 
Disraeli, with his wild dreams of world expansion, at 
her elbow. 

The Turks were actively oppressing their Christian 
subjects, the Slavs, and turning their backs upon past 
promises and conventions. The great powers, Russia, 
Austria and Prussia, drew up a Note demanding 
Turkey's adhesion to past treaties, and asked the other 
nations to join them. France and Italy at once agreed, 
but England hesitated until such time had passed that 
Turkey herself felt oppressed and sent a message to 
England, which was in effect 

" Sign, my dear friend, that tiresome note. I shall 
know that you do not mean it, and I shall also know 
how to deal with it." 

England signed, and the note was received in Con- 
stantinople " with lively satisfaction." It gave Turkey 
time, and she went on with her schemes for punishing 
the Christians. Then the Powers drew up another 
Note, plainly declaring that, if Turkey insisted upon 
transgressing, Europe would force her to decency. It 
would have settled the matter, for Turkey would not 
have thought of fighting Europe. But to England's 
shame she resolutely refused to sign this warning, 
and so deliberately broke the Concert of Europe. It 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 227 

was tantamount to saying that Turkey was to be 
allowed to do as she liked, and England would uphold 
her. 

Why was this ? 

Nominally because England suspected the good 
faith of Russia, and was in deadly fear lest the Tsar 
should obtain Constantinople in some curious way. 
But behind this were two reasons, both inadequate and, 
from a political point of view, vicious. The one I 
have indicated, the legacy of opinion left to England 
by the Prince Consort ; the other was contained in the 
prejudices and ambitions of the Prime Minister, who, 
whatever his public pretensions, was at heart a Jew. 
In the last year of his life he said to Lord Ronald 
Gower 

" I would indeed be very ungrateful to Christianity, 
which has caused half the world to worship a man 
and the other half a woman, both of my race." 

As such, Disraeli had far more sympathy with the 
Mahommedans than with the Eastern Christians ; had 
not the latter often persecuted the Jews? and how 
could he declare friendship for Russia ? And further, 
he had gorgeous dreams concerning Egypt; perhaps, 
as some one said, of advancing from an earl to being 
Duke of Memphis. 

So, for what might be called English royal family 
reasons, Turkey went on its way rejoicing. It burned 
Bulgarian villages and put every inhabitant to the 
sword; Turkish soldiers took whole parties of girls, 
and having done with them thrust them into barns and 
then burnt buildings and humans to cinders. The 



228 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

church at Batak was found piled with bodies, mostly 
women and children, half-way up the low arches. It 
had been set on fire, pieces of the roof torn off and 
burning oil poured in upon those below. Those who 
tried to escape were sabred, and the churchyard was 
piled two feet deep with bodies. These are but inci- 
dents in the many terrible things that occurred, and 
warnings of which were sent to England by alarmed 
English out there. Then reports arrived, but neither 
warning nor report moved Disraeli. He laughed at 
it all, called the accounts "coffee-house babble," and 
as they were first published in The Daily News, 
declared that it was all a party trick. 

The country got hot over it, and questions were 
constantly asked in the House ; The Daily News sent 
out a new Commissioner, who returned with confirma- 
tion of all that had been told, and added horrible 
details. Still Disraeli treated it with scorn, and, 
knowing little of Turkish affairs, asserted that the 
Bashi-Bazouks were Circassians who had long lived 
in Bulgaria by the consent of Europe, and went on 
to reproach the " Liberal Party with the lack of 
sympathy they now showed for a race of beings in 
whom they once professed such an interest." He also 
described the Bulgarians as cruel oppressors of the 
Turks, probably having once read Voltaire's Candide. 
As late as August 1 1 he asserted that the whole thing 
was negligible and grossly exaggerated, and that the 
integrity of the Ottoman Empire should be the leading 
principle of the foreign policy of England. 

That was the last speech he made in the Commons, 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 229 

and it ended on the word " empire." Instead of pass- 
ing behind the Speaker's chair, he walked the full 
length of the House, turned about at the Bar, glanced 
round at the familiar scene, and walked out never 
to return. 

The next morning all the world was astonished to 
hear that he had gone to the Upper House as Lord 
Beaconsfield. The moment chosen helped him over 
a difficult situation. He intended to stick to his policy, 
but he knew that the majority of the country was 
against him, and he told the Queen that he must 
resign. She suggested his acceptance of a peerage, 
and he replied, " Yes, but with resignation." She 
answered that that was impossible in the then state of 
Europe. 1 

Not only the Queen, but under her influence her 
Court was loudly pro-Turk, especially Leopold and 
Mary of Teck. The Prince of Wales was the only 
one who truly regarded his royal position, and no one 
ever knew on which side he stood, while he retained 
relations of equal cordiality with the leaders of both 
parties. 

To save its credit the Government had to send out 
a representative to inquire into the "atrocities," and 
he came back with much the same story, upon which 
the excitement rose high. Gladstone who, being 
sixty-five, had resigned the leadership of his party 
in 1873, was moved with such indignation that he 
wrote a pamphlet upon the question which went like 

1 Told by Lord Granville to Mr. Gladstone, " on the authority 
of a high personage." 



230 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

wildfire, and he spoke at great meetings, champion- 
ing the cause of the Slavs, and saying that England 
should send the Turks out of Bulgaria, bag and 
baggage. 

Beaconsfield retaliated when speaking at what had 
been his own seat, Aylesbury, by a violent diatribe 
against the enemies of Turkey, and added that "the 
conduct of his political opponents was worse than any 
Bulgarian atrocity." At the Lord Mayor's banquet 
later, he hinted at approaching war with Russia, and 
from that time no one, not even his own followers, 
knew what he would do next. 

The Queen, as has been said, was wholeheartedly 
for Turkey; sorry for the Bulgarians, of course, but 
that was not diplomacy ; and politically she never had 
had sympathy for small countries rebelling against 
tyrannical rulers ; all through her life, without excep- 
tion, she had been true to her caste, and had upheld 
monarchy against oppressed people. Up to the 
autumn of 1876 she thought the matter had been 
managed fairly well. She believed that the public 
disgust at Turkey would soon die down, especially if 
she could show Russia as she herself saw her. And 
then across this growing content fell Gladstone's 
pamphlet. She was astounded and then furious. The 
man had resigned the leadership; how dared he come 
forward in this way ? She seemed to think that in that 
resignation he had sold his birthright as an English- 
man and a politician. Had there been any wavering 
in her mind about war, this settled it, and " She 
accepted unhesitatingly Lord Beaconsfield's view that 




A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 281 

England was bound to protect Turkey from injury at 
Russia's hands." 1 

Russia may have been as untrustworthy as our 
Imperialists believed, but it cannot be denied that up 
to that point Russia had been perfectly correct in her 
attitude, and she was equally correct in her further 
proceedings. She said 

" Here is an offshoot of my own nation, speaking 
a form of my own tongue and following my own 
religion, being exterminated by a lawless and barbar- 
ous nation. I have asked you to help me peacefully 
to protect Bulgaria, and you have refused. Now 
I shall take matters into my own hands and fight 
for it." 

Victoria did her utmost to dissuade the Tsar, to 
make him leave his kinsmen a continued prey to the 
inhumanities of the Turk. She privately based her 
reasoning entirely upon Albert's programme of twenty- 
four years earlier, and she felt that every right-minded 
person would agree with her. Alexander listened 
politely and refused to be bound by the wishes of her 
defunct consort. 

The third volume of Albert's life, which had been 
intended to be the last, was then being written, and 
she altered the whole scope of it, for it had reached 
the period of the Crimean War. The book dealt with 
this in every detail, and though she could not possibly 
have conceived it, it was not altogether to the Prince's 
credit. It showed him as an advocate of war at all 
risks and to the last extreme. Prussia, for refusing 
1 Queen Victoria. By Sir Sidney Lee. 



232 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to join England in that reckless war, was vilified in 
the Prince's letters to Stockmar : " Prussia's conduct 
is truly revolting, and the King is looked upon by all 
political men here with profound contempt." The 
King was also described as a nobody, who dishonoured 
his monarchy, as a tool of Russia, as trembling in his 
shoes, and ready to pawn his soul rather than provoke 
Russia. 

The book also showed how, at the instigation of 
Stockmar, the Prince and the Queen had interfered 
in politics, badgered their ministers, and had gravely 
accepted such nonsense from the old German as, 
' The old Tories have died out, and the race which 
in the present day (1854) bears the name are 
simply bastards," and "the Whigs stand in the 
same relation to the Throne as the wolf does to the 
lamb." 

Theodore Martin suggested that in deference to the 
relationship between the royal families of Russia and 
England, various passages should be deleted, but the 
Queen scorned the idea. " Do not let the fact of my 
son's marriage into the Russian family weigh with 
you for a moment ! Whatever conclusions you come 
to upon the facts and documents before you, express 
them as if no such marriage existed," was her 
command. The book was published in 1877, P ro ~ 
voking five marvellous criticisms by " Verax " in the 
Manchester Guardian^ criticisms which were a deep 
sign of the spirit of the time. 

Alexander fought and thrashed Turkey, and 
Victoria, watching events with trembling anxiety, " did 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 238 

not dissemble her disgust and disappointment " at 
his success. 

At the end of 1877, to show her confidence in him, 
Queen Victoria with Princess Beatrice went, with much 
publicity, to visit Beaconsfield at Hughenden, lunched 
with him and planted the inevitable tree on the lawn. 
It was done in the face of Europe, and Europe duly 
registered the fact that in policy Victoria was one with 
her Prime Minister. 

Beaconsfield denounced Russia so often, hinting, as 
often at war, that the people began at last to believe 
that their country was in imminent danger, and that 
their solemn duty was to fight for the unspeakable 
Turk, who had showered honours upon the soldiers 
engaged in murder and rapine in Bulgaria. He tried 
his utmost to push England into another Crimea, but 
his Cabinet was not with him, and he once said in 
private conversation, " In my Cabinet of twelve we 
have six parties; two think we should go to war with 
Russia immediately, two think that we should go to 
war with her before she gets to Constantinople, two 
think we should go to war with her when she has 
reached Constantinople, two think we should not go 
to war at all." He ended with, " The Chancellor of 
the Exchequer and I think that something ought to 
be done, but we don't know what it should be." 

A curious comedy in five acts took place in this 
divergent Cabinet, and five times we were on the brink 
of war, each crisis coinciding with a popular upheaval 
provoked by ministerial papers, and from the music- 
halls came the Jingo chorus 



234 

"We don't want to fight 

But, by jingo, if we do, 
We've got the ships, we've got the men, 
We've got the money too." 

ACT I. January 1878. Beaconsfield insisting that 
the Fleet be sent to the Dardanelles as a threat to 
Russia, Lord Carnarvon resigned. The Prime 
Minister retracted. 

ACT II. Fleet ordered to Dardanelles. Lord 
Carnarvon finally and Lord Derby for the first time 
gave in resignations. Beaconsfield drew back, order- 
ing Fleet to stop at Besika Bay. 

ACT III. Demand for money for Army and Navy. 
The Fleet again ordered to Constantinople to protect 
the Turks. Russia replied, " Then my Fleet shall 
go there to protect the Christians." Compromise 
made. British ships not to touch Gallipoli. Russian 
ships to keep to south of Dardanelles. 

ACT IV. News of peace between Russia and Tur- 
key, and distracted cries of Austria that she had been 
cheated. Jingo shouts for war under prompting; 
Reserves called out, Army brought from India to 
Malta. Derby resigned finally, checkmating Beacons- 
field again. 

ACT V. Public bluff. Loud threatenings to 
sustain the Jingoes' and secret treaties signed with 
Russia and Turkey. 

During the third act the British public went mad. 
Crowds patrolled the London streets shrieking for 
war, howling over Gladstone as a traitor and threaten- 
ing to pull down his house brick by brick, so that a 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 285 

force of police had to be kept in readiness to prevent 
disaster. One Sunday three different parties arrived, 
one friendly, the others hostile, and in spite of the 
police all the windows were broken. There were other 
and worse demonstrations, on one occasion Mr. and 
Mrs. Gladstone being dragged from the steps and 
mobbed. ' There is strange work behind the cur- 
tain," said Gladstone ; " the instigators are really those 
guilty; no one can wonder at the tools." (It was by 
many believed that Disraeli's hatred of Gladstone 
had caused these personal attacks.) 

A few days after the breaking of his windows 
Gladstone received a post-office order for 3 ios., the 
sender, a working man, saying that he was so ashamed 
of what had happened that he, his wife and family 
had scraped together money to repair the damage. 

At this time Beaconsfield said to a friend, " I have 
got the Parliament and the nation at my back, and if 
I were ten years younger I could settle all Europe." 
Yet his fall, the result of his own Imperialism, was 
not far off, for the inevitable reaction against a too 
enthusiastic jingoism had set in. 

But before that happened his career was to receive 
its crown at that European Congress at Berlin sug- 
gested by Bismarck. He attained the dream of his 
life, and one feels glad that, whatever his faults, this 
ambitious man of "dissolving views," this "melan- 
choly harlequin," as Carlyle dubbed him, should 
have attained to that fugitive glory which appealed 
to his; soul. He made himself plenipotentiary with 
Lord Salisbury at the Berlin Congress, and through 



236 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Germany his journey was a progress in the midst 
of a curious, gratified and acclamatory people. This 
hollow fraud of a congress had its humorous incidents, 
for Beaconsfield, knowing that the official language 
would be French, but speaking that language very 
badly, determined to make his speech in that tongue, 
and he learned it by heart under the tuition of his 
fellow minister. Lord Odo Russell, the ambassador 
in Berlin, was in despair, and had the wit, on being 
appealed to, to say 

" But that will be a great disappointment." 

"Why?" 

" Because, knowing that you are a great master of 
English eloquence, every one has been looking for- 
ward to your addressing the Congress in English as 
to an intellectual treat." 

' You don't say so ! " replied Beaconsfield musingly, 
and the French speech was torn up. His French was 
so poor that he found it very difficult to follow the 
other speakers, and each day before setting out drank 
three tumblers of good port to steady his nerves. 

To the public the Conference seemed a great thing, 
but in reality it was a pretence. Two secret treaties 
had already been signed, and in face of Victoria's 
insistence upon her right to pass every detail of 
diplomatic affairs, it must be supposed that this was 
done with her sanction. One treaty gave Russia part 
of what it wanted, approximating to Gladstone's " bag 
and baggage " policy; the other was a convention with 
Turkey, promising to defend that country in Asia, and 
demanding the cession of Cyprus. 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 237 

These treaties were published in the Globe four 
days after the plenipotentiaries had started for Berlin, 
through the instrumentality of a clerk, engaged tempo- 
rarily in copying at the Foreign Office. He was 
accused at Bow Street of stealing information, but the 
charge was quashed as the Government dared not risk 
publicity. Thus, as Moncure Conway wrote, "the 
whole theatric display ended with the grand London 
Ballet, Aphrodite, of which Cyprus was the scene, 
Beaconsfield and the Queen of Cyprus the hero and 
heroine." 

At the Conference the Russian minister and 
Beaconsfield had a sparring match to keep up appear- 
ances, and then came to an agreement, upon which 
the English hero telegraphed to his sovereign that 
he had secured peace with honour. Joyous meetings 
were held all over the country. No one understood 
anything about it, except that the Prime Minister had 
in some wonderful way assured a glorious peace to 
our land, and some people did not even compre- 
hend that. For at one gathering, when a great trans- 
parency of Beaconsfield and Salisbury was shown, 
a woman accosted the sitting member of the place 
with 

" Please, sir, will you tell me which is Peace ? " (the 
murderer). 

But the " peace with honour " was only three weeks 
old when "the bloody overture was being played all 
over again," and the newspapers were filled with 
accounts of a new campaign, involving Austria, Tur- 
key, Bosnia and Herzegovina. As The Hornet, of 



238 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Conservative politics said, the phrase was " a clap- 
trap euphemism for rapine, pillage and slaughter." 

Gladstone, who knew the inner workings of this 
wonderful diplomatic affair, angered Beaconsfield by 
describing the Conference as an insane convention; so 
the latter gave utterance at a dinner to the famous 
retort that Gladstone was "a sophistical rhetorician 
inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, 
and gifted with that egotistical imagination that can 
at all times command an interminable and inconsistent 
series of arguments to malign an opponent and to 
glorify himself." 

The Queen honoured Beaconsfield on his return to 
England by conferring on him the Order of the 
Garter. 

Like Bismarck, Beaconsfield was drunk with Im- 
perialism, which inevitably means war. He had sent 
Sir Bartle Frere to South Africa and Lord Lytton to 
India, first imbuing both with his policy, and both 
obeyed not wisely but too well. South African affairs 
are so little known that it is difficult to judge what was 
or was not necessary in regard to the Zulus or the 
Boers, but general opinion decried Bartle Frere's 
Zulu War as unnecessary. The withdrawal of Indian 
troops to Malta caused a threatening movement by 
Russia upon Afghanistan, and Lytton retaliated by 
taking steps to establish English influence in that 
country, and so came the Afghan War. 

The sensation of the South African War, apart from 
the later event of Majuba Hill, was the death of the 
Prince Imperial. It was his own fault from beginning 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 289 

to end, for he was a wilful, masterful person. He 
insisted upon joining the English force that, by 
proving himself on the field, he might make himself 
acceptable to France ; yet there were hints that one 
motive was said to be a love affair with a girl at 
Chislehurst. Popular report, however, insisted that 
there was an attachment between him and Princess 
Beatrice, and much sympathy was felt for her when 
the news came. 

Though the Prince was only allowed to go as a 
spectator in the war area, he joined, in spite of remon- 
strance, in reconnaissance work, and further, when the 
little force was starting on the morning of the fatality, 
he insisted upon going away with half of it, refusing 
to wait for the others, who were late. In the afternoon, 
when Lieutenant Carey urged the necessity of return- 
ing, he refused to shorten his siesta, and so was caught. 
It was almost as though the gods intended his death. 
To his mother at Chislehurst it brought terrible sorrow, 
and no one showed her such sympathy and loving- 
kindness as Queen Victoria, who had learned through 
grief how to assuage grief. The latter wanted Parlia- 
ment to put up a statue to him in Westminster, and 
even visited the Abbey to select a spot, persuading 
Gladstone, ever pliant to her in sentimental matters, 
to support the idea ; but it was refused on the grounds 
>f policy and nationality, so she had to withdraw the 
request, contenting herself with putting a memorial 
in St. George's Chapel. 

These two wars were the death-knell to Beacons- 
ield's political life. The people were beginning to 



240 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

tire of Jingoism, to feel a distrust of the Prime 
Minister's foreign policy, and there was an alarming 
deficit in finance, for glory had to be paid for. How- 
ever, neither the Queen nor Beaconsfield scented 
danger, for the latter's love of show and power had 
run away with him. Without the inflexibility of 
Bismarck, he still further emulated that "blood and 
iron " statesman by declaring to his mistress that he 
desired to make her (poor little woman !) the Dictatress 
of Europe (and poor Europe !), writing, " Many things 
are preparing, which for the sake of peace and civil- 
ization render it most necessary that your Majesty 
should occupy that position." 

"Who knows what dreams of domination these 
two gave themselves up to in the communion of 
their souls, this subjugated woman and this prodigious 
actor?" 1 

London still applauded the Prime Minister, the 
clubs entertaining him, and neither he nor the Queen 
looked for signs into the country or among those who 
felt the economic pinch. Her anger was still hot 
against Gladstone for his opposition to Beaconsfield. 
In the spring, when Arthur of Connaught was married 
to Princess Louise Margaret, third daughter of Prince 
Frederick Charles of Prussia, she offered the public 
affront to Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone of refusing to ask 
them to the wedding, though Beaconsfield himself 
urged it, and though Gladstone had again thrown his 
influence on her side in the matter of settlements. But 
she did more than this. Knowing that the Gladstones 
1 La Reine Victoria. By Abel Chevalley. 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 241 

often visited the Wellesleys at the Deanery at Wind- 
sor, Victoria wrote to the Dean suggesting that, as 
Mr. Gladstone was making violent attacks on the 
Government, it would be as well to cause these visits 
to be discontinued. " Whereupon," said the stout old 
Dean, " I wrote her a tickler." Imagination boggles 
at the thought, says Mr. G. W. E. Russell, who tells 
the story. 

In the autumn of 1879 Gladstone was invited to 
contest Midlothian, and he started at the end of 
November on that remarkable campaign which, for a 
man who a year before had congratulated himself if 
ic walked a short distance in London without being 
insulted, whose very friends feared his eloquence and 
his energy, was a bewildering and enthusiastic progress 
through town after town, ever surrounded by cheering 
crowds. Beaconsfield called it the Pilgrimage of 
Passion. 

Viscount Esher tells a story, which is hardly parlia- 
lentary, of George Hamilton attacking Gladstone in 
public speech during this campaign. " And why did 
[r. Gladstone do this, and why did he do the other? 
will tell you why. Mr. Gladstone has an eye on the 
"reasury Bench." Upon this a man in the crowd 
:ried out, " Yes, and if you don't look out he will have 
iis b m on it soon." 

In his speeches Gladstone did not spare either the 
'rime Minister or the Government, and Victoria's 
idignation was intense, she declaring both in con- 
versation and in letters that his attacks on her favourite 
rere shameful and disgraceful. It is certain that, 



242 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

had the case been reversed, she would have thought 
Beaconsfield justified in using the highest and lowest 
of his enormous range of rhetoric and invective against 
Gladstone. But with high hearts, still sure that the 
people must see with their eyes and look forward to 
a glorious future under their foreign policy, the Queen 
and Beaconsfield decided in March 1880 that the 
Government must go to the country ; and Victoria went 
to visit Germany, to stay in the home of her dear lost 
daughter, in thorough confidence as to the result. But 
from the very first day of the elections it was evident 
that a tremendous reaction had set in, and when all 
was done the Liberals had a majority in England, 
Wales and Scotland of 119. Thus ended what 
Madame Blaze de Bury described as "the reign of 
the mad Caliph." 

Beaconsfield was staying at Hatfield alone, for 
Salisbury was abroad, and as the news rolled in upon 
him, hour by hour, he faced the ruins of his hopes as 
a great man, accepting with a seemingly undisturbed 
mind the conviction of his final downfall; and turned 
to the completing of his last novel, Endymion. He 
had reached to the very summit of honour, had refused 
a dukedom offered by his distressed queen, and felt 
that he had no time left in which to regret lost dreams. 
Lord Ronald Gower says that he gave himself two 
more years of life, and the Queen twenty. He also 
once remarked, " Bismarck and I were perfectly in 
accord. Had the late Government lasted we would 
have kept the democrats in Europe in check ; but now 
all is over ! " He did not realize that the very desire 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 243 

to keep a living force in check had helped to bring 
about his own downfall. 

Exactly a year later, on April 19, 1881, Beaconsfield 
died of gout and bronchitis, saying during his illness, 
" I would confess anything, if I were a Nihilist, under 
my torture." When he was dying one watching doctor 
said, " I think the old gentleman is gone at last," and 
Dizzy, humorous to the end, quietly remarked, " Not 
yet" 

The Queen asked, and Gladstone offered, a public 
funeral, but the statesman had wished to lie by his 
wife. As had been her burial, so was his, the coffin 
being carried through the grounds of Hughenden 
to the churchyard; but the service was attended 
by many uninvited princes, ambassadors and country 
people. 

Victoria, writing later in the year on the death of 
the Duchess of Westminster, said, "/ don't under- 
stand the wish to be buried in a churchyard, but I 
know some vaults are gloomy and painful." She sent 
two wreaths for the grave, the one of immortelles 
inscribed, " With the true affection, respect and friend- 
ship of the Queen " ; the other was a wreath of prim- 
roses, with a card bearing the words, "His favourite 
flower. Gathered at Osborne. A tribute of affection 
from Queen Victoria." 

Only one person was ever designated in this way 
without a name by Victoria; to her the pronoun thus 
used could refer only to one, Prince Albert. But 
sentimentalists rushed to the idea that Beaconsfield 
ad loved the lowly primrose, and they still dedicate 




244 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the flower to his memory. He was once asked I 
forget by whom if he liked the primrose, and replied, 
' Yes, in a salad." On the other hand he is reported 
to have said, " I like to be in the country when the 
primroses are out." That Beaconsfield, with his love 
of colour and gorgeousness, with his eyes always 
raised to the stars of fame, with his wild ambition to 
rule Europe, had the right sentiment to love a lowly 
yellow blossom is unthinkable. But to Prince Albert, 
deeply interested in wood and field, in life animate 
and inanimate, such a preference was natural. The 
Queen, seeing in the primrose cult a new agent in 
strengthening Conservatism, never declared what her 
sentence had meant. 

However, some of us still smile over Primrose Day, 
but many sorrow over the devastation of field, hedge- 
row and coppice, over the bespoiled country and the 
children who seek and cannot find the yellow flowers 
after that murderous spring day has passed. 

A week after the funeral two women clad in mourn- 
ing entered the churchyard at Hughenden. The elder 
woman was Queen Victoria, and she went alone to 
Beaconsfield's grave, where, weeping, she laid a wreath 
and a cross of white camellias far better emblem of 
the dead man's tastes upon it. She then joined her 
daughter Beatrice and went to the Manor, resting 
awhile in his study. The following year she ordered 
a monument to be put in Hughenden Church, upon 
which was inscribed 

"To the dear and honoured memory of Benjamin, 
Earl of Beaconsfield, this memorial is raised by 



A STRAIN UPON LOYALTY 245 

his grateful and affectionate Sovereign and friend, 
Victoria, R.I. Kings love them that speaketh 
right." 

Some of those who still thought of the Bulgarian 
atrocities made the reverse comment that " Queens 
love them that speaketh wrong." Beaconsfield's sup- 
porters were joyful over the evidence that the Queen 
was on their side, but a little later they found that she 
could be equally eulogistic about a quite different 
person. 

The dreadful strain which had been put upon the 
loyalty of England for five years was over. If you 
read the remarkable essays already mentioned, which 
were written by H. Dunckley in the Manchester 
Guardian and signed "Verax," in 1878, it will be 
easier to understand how the whole constitution 
tottered under the combined actions of Victoria and 
Beaconsfield. As the Hon. G. W. E. Russell says in 
his An Onlooker's Notebook, " That the strain did not 
reach bursting-point was beyond all question due to 
the facts that the throne was occupied by a queen, 
and that the real leader of the militant Opposition was 
the man who of all others most ardently cherished the 
principle of chivalrous loyalty to the Crown." 

Englishmen would never have borne from a king 
what they passed over as coming from a queen. 



CHAPTER XVI 

ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 

" Perched as I am on a dreary, sad pinnacle of solitary 
grandeur." Queen Victoria, in a letter to Sir Theodore Martin. 

"The cause of the rising in the Sudan is the cause of all 
risings against Turkish rule, wherever they have occurred. No 
one who has been in a Turkish province and has witnessed 
the results of the Bashi-Bazouk system, which excited so much 
indignation some time ago in Bulgaria, will need to be told why 
the people of the Sudan have risen in revolt against the Khedive. 
The Turks, the Circassians, and the Bashi-Bazouks have plun- 
dered and oppressed the people in the Sudan as they plundered 
and oppressed them in the Balkan peninsula. . . . That the 
people were justified in rebelling, nobody who knows the treat- 
ment to which they were subjected will attempt to deny. . . . 
It is a mistake to regard the Mahdi as in any sense a religious 
leader; he personified popular discontent. . . . The movement 
is not religious, but an outbreak of despair." Letter by General 
Gordon, included in ' Events in the Life of Charles G. Gordon,' by 
H. W. Gordon. 

WITH the fall and death of Disraeli the Queen lost 
far more than a friend ; she lost her dreams, her ambi- 
tion, her feeling of security and her happiness. When 
Gladstone was in power his aim was to consolidate 
Britain from within; when Beaconsfield was in power 
his desire was to extend the empire outwards. The 
former went straight at his mark of renovating outworn 
laws and customs, raising the standard of the people 
and reforming abuses; the latter spoke softly to his 

Queen, pointed to her colonies and whispered that they 

246 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 247 

spread over the earth, that the tie which must bind them 
to England would be neither Parliament nor blood, but 
the Empress-Queen. Beaconsfield raised dreams of 
world-wide dominance which would have done justice 
to a Hohenzollern ; he bred in her mind an appreciation 
of war, and tutored her in believing that aggrandise- 
ment justified war; he kept the people in a constant 
state of surprise, cast over them the glamour of a 
spirited foreign policy, and presented them with finely 
coloured dramatic pictures, such as Peace with Honour, 
and Imperialism, and, by diverting their minds, laid 
to rest for the moment republican sentiments. Under 
his adroit management Victoria came more among her 
people in face of Gladstone's straightforward argu- 
ments she drew back into her seclusion. Sh,e refused 
to open Gladstone's Parliaments, but for Beaconsfield 
she was present at least every other year. When 
Prince Leopold came of age, Dizzy asked for him 
15,000 a year with a flourish of trumpets. Leopold 
was a sage, an intellectual of the rarest merit; he was 
like his great father who had " given a new impulse to 
the course of civilization " ; and the pension was granted 
with few dissentients. When the Duke of Connaught 
married and wanted his income increased the request 
was quietly acceded to, for there was a rumour that he 
was to be made Viceroy of Ireland, so that there was 
no Irish opposition. But when Leopold, who was 
created by the Queen, in May 1881, Duke of Albany 
a sinister title, for all the royal dukes of that name had 
died young or been murdered ! asked the usual in- 
crease in March 1882, on his marriage with Helene of 



248 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Wai deck- Pyrmont, there was strong opposition. Irish 
hopes had not been fulfilled by the Connaughts, and 
Irish affairs were in a desperate condition, so forty-two, 
mostly Irish patriots, voted against the royal wishes, 
and Labouchere again raised the question of what be- 
came of the Civil List money not spent by the Crown. 
Gladstone, as usual, defended the Queen, but admitted 
that she took private possession of the money saved 
by her economies on the Civil List. However, in a 
House of 387 the majority was 345. The fact remained 
that under Gladstone these discussions arose. 

When Beaconsfield had decided to go to the country 
in 1880 he cast about for a cry which might be popular, 
and pitched upon Anti-Home Rule. These words had 
come into use long before, Gladstone saying in 1871, 
" I am not quite certain what is meant by Home Rule." 
At the moment of the dissolution, however, there was 
no demand for it, as Ireland had suffered from bad 
potato harvests and was on the verge of starvation; 
Parnell, already a personage, had his hands full in 
devising means of safeguarding the Irish, and gave the 
somewhat natural advice that they should save money 
as much as possible, and pay as little rent as possible, 
so that when the deadliest pinch came food could still 
be bought. This alienated both Liberal and Tory, for 
the sacredness of property over life was even more 
pronounced then than now. Thus the anti-Home Rule 
cry interested no one and had no influence on the elec- 
tion; the people were too occupied with their sudden 
fear of the two recent costly wars of aggrandisement, 
with the suspicion that a " spirited foreign policy " was 




ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 249 

not worth paying for, and their sudden reaction in 
favour of Gladstone, to whom they turned with 
expectation. 

Six years earlier he had resigned the leadership of 
the Opposition to Lord Granville, a member of the 
Upper House, and the Liberals had chosen Lord Hart- 
ington to lead them in the Commons. Thus Granville 
was the responsible person. Beaconsfield, however, 
thought that Hartington would interfere least with his 
line of policy, and advised Victoria to send for him, 
which she did. Gladstone had naturally said that he 
would not take office under any one, and neither Gran- 
ville nor Hartington had any fancy to have Gladstone 
thundering over their heads from a back bench, and 
putting them right. So when Hartington had his inter- 
view with the Queen, whose face he could only see 
imperfectly, as she stood with her back to the window, 
he told her that Gladstone was the only man who could 
form a Government and that his Government would 
be more moderate than any he himself could get 
together. The Queen implored him to do her wishes, 
appealing to him as responsible leader of the Party, 
and continued to do so in answer to all he said. She 
then asked if he was sure Mr. Gladstone would not 
serve under him. 

" I can't say I am sure he wouldn't, ma'am, for I've 
never ventured to ask him." 

" Now I beg you will ask him and come back and let 

e know what he says." 

The next day Hartington and Granville went to 

r indsor, and both said it was impossible for either to 



become leader while Gladstone was at hand, and 
so they were sent back to summon Gladstone. The 
Queen was quite courteous to him, but seemed " natural 
under effort, and the interview ended pleasantly," at 
least on the surface. 

Beaconsfield blamed Harrington bitterly for not 
taking the first office, saying that he showed a want 
of courage, and "abandoned a woman in her hour 
of need," and he moaned, "All becomes chaos, all 
becomes chaos when I am away." 

Victoria took leave of him that April of 1880 as 
though all peace had left her, and offered to confer on 
him a dukedom, which he declined. She felt that her 
prospects of world-domination were gone, that there 
would be no more wars of expansion, that once again 
the wearisome and, from her point of view, dangerous 
policy of internal reform would replace those glorious 
dreams. So she looked about for a means of counter- 
acting what she regarded as the coming retrograde 
policy, and she turned to the Army, determined to 
impress upon it her position as true commander-in 
chief. She was sure that misfortune would befall this 
beloved section of her subjects, that the Liberals 
wanted to reduce it in numbers and in power, and 
her fear was heightened by the inclusion of Joseph 
Chamberlain, popularly regarded as a Socialist, in the 
Cabinet. He and Dilke were known as the Parlia- 
ment of Two, because they were inseparable, and each 
refused office unless the other had some responsible 
post. ' You may make your choice," said Sir Charles 
Dilke to Gladstone, " the other shall be leader of the 
Radicals." 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 251 

When her Majesty saw Gladstone she was keen on 
mowing who was suggested for the War Office, and 
evidently disapproved on hearing the name of Childers, 
in the earlier .Liberal administration had been at 
the Admiralty. So the Queen wooed the Army. On 
[uly 13, 1880, she reviewed 1 1,000 Volunteers in Hyde 
'ark; on the 28th the colours of the 24th Regiment, 
lost at Isandhlwana but afterwards recovered, were 
taken to her at Osborne, and in the presence of the 
officers she decorated them with a wreath. Before the 
first battalion of the Rifle Brigade started for India, 
August 21, she visited it on board the troopship Jumna, 
inspected their quarters and was solicitous for their 
comfort. In 1881 she held a review in Queen's Park, 
Edinburgh, of 40,000 Scottish Volunteers under diffi- 
cult circumstances, for the rain descended in torrents ; 
she, however, remained to the end, and for three hours 
let the rain pelt upon her, so that by the time she got 
back to Holyrood her carriage contained a pool of 
water, and streams of it ran off her skirt. 

She kept a watchful eye over Childers, disapproving 
every suggested reform, and setting herself strongly 
against all reorganization. In her fear of change she 
identified herself with all that had been, standing up 
for old abuses; as Sir Sidney Lee says, " No military 
reform escaped her censorious vigilance." She even 
went so far as to disapprove of the abolition of the 
use of the " cat " as a punishment. This abuse had 
gradually diminished, but an officer could still order 
fifty lashes with the cat to be inflicted on the bare 
back, and scandals arose in the case of bad-tempered 
officers. Part of her letter ran : The Queen hopes 



252 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

"that officers on service may not be deprived of the 
only power they possess of keeping young troops in 
order, viz. by inflicting corporal punishment in the 
extreme cases of cowardice, treachery, plundering, or 
neglect of duty on sentry. The Queen hates the 
system of flogging, but sees no alternative in extreme 
cases on active service." 

The punishment was, however, abolished in 1881. 

We are wiser about punishment in this generation, 
though it is only a few months since that Lord 
Charles Beresford sought to glorify this brutalization 
of men. 

When it was desired to abolish the abuse of distri- 
buting Army rank and pay as rewards to those whose 
qualifications were invisible, Victoria strongly opposed 
it, saying that if there were abuses they could easily 
be remedied. A case in point was that of a General 
Macdonald, who had never done military duty as a 
general, but had for many years been private secretary 
to the Duke of Cambridge. To his honours had been 
added the title and pay to the amount of 1000 a 
year of honorary colonel, and a question was asked 
in the House of Commons about it. The Queen, then 
at Balmoral, wrote Childers a long letter demanding 
that he would not pledge himself to any reform in this 
matter, saying that she was strongly opposed to the 
abolition of those honorary colonelcies, that to abolish 
them would be to destroy all esprit de corps and to 
weaken the pride which the officers feel in the regi- 
ments. How could she have attained to such a conclu- 
sion, seeing the facts of the case ? What esprit de corps 



could there be between a regiment and an honorary 
colonel who was in reality a secretary ? 

There was delay in posting this letter, so her 
Majesty telegraphed in cipher to the War Minister. 
The telegram arrived too late, the question having 
been asked and answered; but Childers wrote to her, 
saying that, had he received it in time, his answer 
would have been more vague. Yet we are often told 
that the Queen did not influence the Government. 

When in the winter of that year Childers prepared 
a scheme for linking battalions and associating the 
names of counties or towns with regiments, he again 
found himself faced with an annoyed and forbidding 
Queen. 

The plan was pushed through, however, and resulted 
in an immediate accession of recruits; and Childers, 
driven to desperation by the unceasing and unintelli- 
gent heckling both in Parliament and from the Throne, 
put his position plainly before the country in a speech 
at Pontefract, on January 19, 1882. It was a justifi- 
cation of the British constitutional attitude as against 
the German claim that the monarch is in absolute 
command of the Army. To such men as Gladstone 
and Childers, strong, self-assertive and determined, 
the English people owe a great debt of gratitude for 
the saving of our army from relapsing into an ineffi- 
cient body, given over to obsolete custom and ruled 
by those whose only claim was that of high descent. 

In the course of the speech referred to Childers 
said : " It is said that the Secretaries of State for War 
are encroaching on the functions of others. The 



254 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Army, they say, is the army of the Crown ; we Secre- 
taries of State want to make it the army of the 
Commons. The Crown, they say, commands the Army 
through the commander-in-chief ; the Secretary of 
State is a mere financial officer who has gradually 
intruded on the province of the Crown. All this is 
mere delusion. The Queen is the head of the Army, 
the head of the Navy and of every branch of the public 
service; as such she can do no wrong. But that is 
because all her acts are the acts of her responsible 
ministers. The doctrine of personal government 
which you have seen so undisguisedly claimed in 
Prussia is absolutely unknown in our Constitu- 
tion. . . . Under the Secretary of State are three 
departments, the heads of which are equally respon- 
sible to him. The Chief Officer Commanding, for the 
Military Department; the Surveyor-General, for the 
Ordnance and Supply Department; and the Financial 
Secretary for the Finance Department. To say that 
the Secretary of State has no controlling power in 
such matters, when he is responsible to Parliament for 
any improper exercise of the Queen's prerogative in 
regard to them, is manifestly absurd." 

The Queen's greatest anxiety at the beginning of 
the new Government was that it should carry on the 
same foreign policy as its forerunner; especially that 
it should bring to a close in a glorious manner the two 
wars. A great majority, however, clamoured for the 
recall of Sir Bartle Frere, and every one was dumb 
with surprise to find Gladstone deciding to retain him 
at his post. There were two reasons for this : the one 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 255 

he gave was that steps to confederation were being 
taken, and Frere must stay to complete the scheme. 
The second reason which he did not give was that 
Victoria did not cease to urge upon him her confidence 
in the commander, and her desire for what she regarded 
as a strong policy. The enemy by this time were no 
longer Zulus, but Boers. The royal chagrin was 
bitter when Frere was recalled in July, and still more 
bitter when, after many vicissitudes, a peace was 
concluded the following year without its being secured 
at the point of the sword. 

Over Afghanistan her distress was even keener, for 
the decision of the Government was to return to the 
original Anglo-Indian policy which had been found 
successful before the war. So Lord Roberts' brave 
march to Kabul, and thence to the relief of the British 
at Kandahar, was followed by the appointment of a 
new Amir and the evacuation of the country by the 
British, a policy which has so far proved a good one. 

This withdrawing after such a desperate attempt to 
annex Afghanistan to India was a terrible grievance 
to Victoria, and she refused to discuss it with her 
ministers. Lord Hartington said, after an interview 
in October 1880, that she was very gracious, but 
avoided talking about Kandahar with him, and he 
feared she was getting into the habit of refusing to 
talk over with her ministers any subject which was 
unpalatable to her. Lord Esher commented upon this 
that there was probably some wisdom in it, as she knew 
that she or the Ministry must give way, and that she 
had no chance against a united Cabinet. 



256 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

When the decision was carried into effect Victoria 
could not bring herself to face it squarely, and abso- 
lutely refused to allow her ministers to publish the 
matter, which threw them into an awkward predicament 
in January 1881, when the Queen's Speech was being 
prepared. The country had a right to know so impor- 
tant an event, and to let it leak out through report 
rather than in the legitimate way was sufficient to 
discredit any Parliament. On Gladstone including 
in the speech that Kandahar had been evacuated, she 
telegraphed from Osborne that she strongly objected 
to it; her ministers replied that four months had 
elapsed since the withdrawal, and it was absolutely 
necessary to announce the fact now; to which she 
returned that she would agree to a modified form of 
words which did not announce our withdrawal. 

Hartington and Gladstone did not know what to do ; 
should they go to Osborne and see what could be done 
with this autocratic personage, or should they further 
prorogue Parliament until she had the courage to face 
the universal knowledge ? At that very hour a Privy 
Council was being held at Osborne, and Sir Henry 
Ponsonby declared that he had never seen her Majesty 
so angry as she was then. Possibly the Privy Coun- 
cillors, met to discuss the speech, helped to cause this 
anger, and also helped to induce a more reasonable 
frame of mind, for at six o'clock a telegram was put 
into Gladstone's hands giving assent. 

With Gladstone's Government came trouble in 
Egypt. When England acquired a monetary interest 
in that country it was necessary to have some control 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 257 

over Egyptian finance, which Beaconsfield had found 
in a bankrupt condition. French influence had for 
long been strong in the country, and in 1879 the Dual 
Control of Finance (England and France) had been 
instituted. But Turkey was bankrupt in her influence 
also, having ruled with her usual injustice and bar- 
barity, so the whole great land of Egypt and the 
Sudan was ripe for rebellion. The army under Arabi 
Pasha started the revolution, and England's lack of real 
knowledge of the country caused this to be regarded 
as a mere military revolt. There was a massacre at 
Alexandria, and when Britain prepared to restore order 
by bombarding the town, the French fleet refused to 
act with it and steamed away. Gladstone declared that 
the Sultan must see after his own possessions. France 
suggested a European Conference, and the Sultan of 
Turkey, fearing that he would get short shrift at the 
hands of Europe, and regarding England as his friend 
through thick and thin, always ready to pull his chest- 
nuts out of the fire for him, refused to have anything 
to do with a Conference and made the offer to England 
that it should take exclusive control of Egyptian 
administrative affairs. Gladstone and Granville, hor- 
rified at the idea that they were to spend valuable 
time, money and men in reducing a Turkish province 
to order for Turkey, refused pointblank and without 
consulting their Cabinet. The very thought must 
have been horrible to Gladstone. 

It is easy to see how this high-handed action pro- 
voked the Queen, who was so willing to favour Turkey, 

and who, imbued with the Beaconsfieldian policy of 
s 



258 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Empire extension, would have taken all that was 
offered, at whatever cost, in the hope that it would 
lead to more. So there was a sharp disagreement 
between her and Gladstone at the very outset, a 
disagreement which widened and deepened over 
Egypt until Victoria regarded Gladstone much as 
he looked upon the Sultan, as " the greatest murderer 
in Europe." 

The Queen did not cease to press the policy of her 
late minister upon her new Cabinet, and she endured 
mental tortures for fear that her efforts would be of 
no avail. She turned again to the Army, demanding 
that the smallest details should be submitted to her, 
for she distrusted Childers, especially now that it was 
necessary to put down Arabi Pasha before anything 
else could be thought of. A commander-in-chief of 
the expedition had to be chosen, and she refused to 
sanction any appointment until she had diligently 
studied the careers and qualities of all her chief sol- 
diers, eventually agreeing to the Cabinet's choice of 
Lord Wolseley. She worried over transports, rations, 
hospitals, equipments; she wrote and telegraphed 
incessantly to the War Office, sending one day as 
many as seventeen letters ! in fact, she did not cease 
to inform her already harassed and hard-working ser- 
vants that they knew nothing of their work, and must 
be given her unsleeping surveillance. 

It is needless to say that Childers was loyalty itself, 
but it would have been interesting on the seventeen- 
letter day to have heard his language, say at the tenth 
letter. After that his sensibilities must have become 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 259 

blunted, and his overcharged feelings too congested 
for expression. 

In all this getting ready what had become of her 
Majesty's deputy, her cousin the Duke of Cambridge, 
that she did the overlooking herself? She had evi- 
dently come to regard him as an inefficient screen 
between her and her Ministry, and indeed he never 
had been strong. Like so many military and royal 
Germans, his mind was burdened with straps and 
buckles and lace. The present Kaiser has always been 
keen over these things, spending earnest thought and 
much talk over the relative importance of two, or three, 
buttons on some part of a uniform, as to whether a 
strap should be four inches or four and a half inches 
long, and such stupendous trifles. Like his father, 
the Duke of Cambridge was noted for talking loudly 
in public places, and was far more audible often at 
the theatre than were the actors; and like many men 
who have been stay-at-home soldiers, his ideas upon 
military matters were somewhat hazy. He loyally 
upheld his royal cousin in holding fast to ancient 
custom, and when, after the lesson taught during this 
first Egyptian campaign, it was suggested and pressed 
that the betraying scarlet uniform should be abolished, 
he offered what some outspoken person called "a 
senseless opposition " ; saying that he thought it good 
for the soldier in action that he should be visible to the 
enemy. He was, with equal reason, totally against 
raising the standard of age to nineteen. 

Victoria had insisted that her son, the Duke of 
Connaught, should lead the Guards' Brigade, and that 



260 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the Duke of Teck should have a responsible post on 
Wolseley's staff, so in addition to the constant fussing 
over everything that had any relation to the war, the 
Queen was also anxious about her son. " My nerves 
were strained to such a pitch by the intensity of my 
anxiety and suspense that they seemed to feel as 
though they were all alive." 

Tel-el-Kebir was fought and won, and her Majesty 
celebrated it as she had years before celebrated the 
fall of Sebastopol. with a bonfire on the top of Craig 
Gowan and many other rejoicings, writing in her 
journal 

" Felt unbounded joy and gratitude for God's great 
goodness and mercy." 

It was natural that she should say and think this 
but now, since the beginning of the Great War, it is 
only possible to feel that to join the name of the 
Christian's God with war at all is a blasphemy. 
Kaiser William has shown us that the only god of 
War is a revolting devil. 

When the Egyptian Campaign was over Queen Vic- 
toria rewarded her three relatives for their share in it, 
the Duke of Cambridge being appointed personal aide- 
de-camp to herself, which, as his work had been entirely 
hidden by her Majesty's own industry, was, as some 
paper wrote, " like decorating the King of the Un- 
known Regions for his share in the Transit of VenuJ 
Practically he did as much in the one event as in th< 
other." A comic paper stated that while our troops 
were winning Tel-el-Kebir, the Duke, " aware some- 
how of fighting, rose two hours earlier than usual, 






ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 261 

shouldered his umbrella, charged an imaginary enemy 
at the head of imaginary troops and fell with an 
imaginary bullet in his shoulder." The Duke had 
been accused of going on parade on a wet day with 
his umbrella up, and so that useful domestic article 
was never forgotten when any story was to be told 
against him. Thus the next year, when the trooping 
of the colours was countermanded by him because of 
the rain, the comment was, " The troops were ready, 
the public were waiting, but all were told to go home. 
Was a certain historical umbrella necessary ? " 

The Duke of Connaught had been mentioned three 
times in dispatches, was given the C.B., and received 
the thanks of Parliament. Yet a sceptical public had 
much to say over a report that he had been well 
guarded, that by order of a " high personage his troops 
had been so arranged at the battle as to prevent him 
from incurring danger." This naturally caused lively 
indignation in royal circles, and both Wolseley and 
Childers emphatically denied its truth, the former say- 
ing, " He took his chance like any one else." But the 
public were not convinced, and there was some excuse 
for this when one remembers the question addressed 
to Lieutenant Carey after the killing of the Prince 
Imperial 

"Where is the Prince?" 

" Dead, sir." 
' Then why are you alive ? " 

This was sufficient to destroy reliance on the word 
of a superior officer on any such matters, for people 
naturally felt that such would protect his own reputa- 



262 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

tion by putting such a precious charge as a royal prince 
in a safe corner. 

Victoria also thoughtfully devised the decoration of 
the Royal Red Cross for nurses who had shown great 
service, which was bestowed upon fournurses,also upon 
Princess Louise, the Duchess of Albany and Princess 
Frederica of Hanover for their services in the First- 
Aid Society for sick and wounded soldiers. She 
distributed medals and reviewed the returned troops. 
Her keen desire was for the drastic punishment of 
Arabi and the other principal rebels. ' The whole 
state of Egypt is full of difficulties, and we must take 
great care that, short of annexation, our position is 
firmly established there, and that we shall not have to 
shed precious blood and expend much money for 
nothing," was one of her exhortations. 

Arabi Pasha was a rebel against the unutterable 
cruelty of the Turks; his movement "was in essence, 
a genuine revolt against misgovernment " and "was 
not essentially anti-European," said Evelyn Baring 
(Lord Cromer). He had headed a national movement 
against a foreign oppressor, and the Government could 
not force itself to carrying out the extreme measures 
urged by Victoria. He was brought to trial and con- 
demned to death by the Egyptian Government, but 
Lord Dufferin, preventing the carrying out of the 
capital sentence, sent him to Ceylon, whence he 
returned after some years and died in Egypt. 

Gladstone felt a great repugnance against burdening 
the country with any aggressive policy in Egypt; yet 
it was evident that peace in Egypt could only be 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 263 

secured by the retention of a British force there. 
Lord Dufferin recommended the formation of a native 
force of about 6000 men with a proportion of British 
officers, and a semi-military gendarmerie of 4,400 men. 
Evelyn Wood became Sirdar of the former and Valen- 
tine Baker was made Inspector-General of the latter, 
the intention being to train native soldiers to do 
Egyptian work for Egypt, and that England should 
gradually evacuate a country to which its only right 
was the desire of the Sultan to shift his burdens upon 
her shoulders. The Queen strongly resented the idea 
of evacuation, but could do nothing. 

The revolt of the Arabs, however, continued; it 
had but moved its location from Egypt to the Sudan. 
The tribes in that vast region were regarded simply as 
a slave nursery by Turkey and as material for taxation. 
The people, forced to grow corn for their oppressors, 
died of starvation themselves. Thus, when the Mahdi 
came to the front as their deliverer, he at once se- 
cured an enormous army. The Khedive now wanted 
England to extend her assistance and reconquer the 
Sudan for him. Evelyn Baring advised against it; 
the Government saw no reason for saddling England 
with such a burden, but Victoria, dreaming of an 
African empire as large as that of India, did not 
cease to urge the sending out of armies. 

In January 1883 an Englishman, Hicks Pasha, had 
been dispatched by the Egyptian authorities, entirely 
against his own military judgment, with 10,000 
Egyptian troops against the Mahdi, and the army had 
been practically annihilated, upon which our Govern- 



264 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ment proposed sending a Governor-General, meaning 
Charles Gordon, " which, if it had been accepted, would 
have saved the Sudan from anarchy and rebellion, and 
England from expense in life and money, but the 
Egyptian Government declined his services." l 

At this time over the millions of miles of the Sudan 
the tribes roamed at will, but there were some small 
towns, more or less fortified, in which were located 
forces of Egyptian soldiers and some Europeans who 
had gone there for trading or other purposes ; and, as 
in 1874 and 1878, Gordon had been Governor-General 
under the Egyptian Government of some of the 
provinces, he was more liked by the Arabs than by the 
Turks. 

The Government felt that their evacuation plan was 
the best that could be devised, but first the isolated 
garrisons must be extricated, and, in spite of Egypt's 
refusal of Gordon, they asked him if he could do this 
work. During those two years and after it was quite 
easy to allocate blame, to fasten it, as the Queen did, 
upon one man, but it is time now that the matter should 
at least be studied from both sides and not from party 
feeling, or personal prejudice. Gordon knew the 
Sudan as intimately and the intimacy was of the 
slenderest as such a huge country could be known 
at that time, and when at twenty-four hours' notice 
he started from England on his mission, in January 
1884, he said 

" The Mahdi's forces will fall to pieces of them- 
selves ! " 
1 Events in the Life of Charles G. Gordon. By H. W. Gordor 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 265 

The cause of all the trouble was the want of know- 
ledge on all sides. The Sudan with its heat and cold, 
its floods and droughts, was an unknown country; the 
Arab and other forces, the influence of the Mahdi, the 
aims of the fighters, the character of Gordon himself, 
all were unknown; even Gordon could not diagnose 
the case. He himself was not in the slightest under- 
stood by the men who sent him. They knew that he 
had been successful before, that he had an influence 
in the Sudan, and that every one said he was the man ; 
as far as they could tell he was. Later they knew he 
was not. Energetic, upright, religious, he was yet 
subject to enthusiasms which blinded his judgment, he 
naturally trusted the people about him, and he acted 
upon his instincts rather than upon reason. 

I remember well the terrible excitement about his 
fate, the bitter denunciations, the unjust charges, but 
those who knew him best thought afterwards that he 
was sent too late for his powers to cope with the situa- 
tion. Here is one example of his want of stability of 
idea. In an interview given, just before starting, to a 
representative of The Pall Mall Gazette he said 

'There is one subject on which I cannot imagine 
any one can differ. This is the impolicy of announ- 
cing our intention to evacuate Khartoum. Even if we 
were bound to do so we should have said nothing about 
it. The moment it is known that we have given up 
the game every man will go over to the Mahdi. All 
men worship the rising sun. . . . The difficulties of 
evacuation will be enormously increased, if indeed the 
withdrawal of our garrison is not rendered impossible." 



266 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

No sooner, however, was he in the midst of the 
disturbed country than he repudiated this by calling 
the authorities together at Berber on February I3th, 
announced to them the intention of abandoning the 
Sudan, and followed this by drawing up a procla- 
mation appointing six of the most influential men to 
administer the government of the province, subject to 
the Governor-General. The whole of the notables 
present at the meeting threw their interest on the side 
of the Mahdi as opportunity arose. 

Gordon's one mission was to bring the garrisons 
away, yet no sooner was he in Egypt than he added 
to this programme the intention of forming a pro- 
visional Government for the Sudan, and stuck to this 
to the end, refusing to leave Khartoum until this 
impossible task was accomplished. 

In his earlier period of authority Gordon had earned 
the hatred of a man named Zobeir, by putting down 
a revolt, thus causing the execution of Zobeir's son and 
the loss of property to him. On reaching Egypt this 
time he met Zobeir, and for fear of complications 
asked the Egyptian Government to send the old rebel 
to Cyprus out of the way. This was refused, and 
Gordon thought the safest plan would then be to 
take Zobeir to Khartoum with him. Those, however, 
who saw the hatred in the Arab's eyes, judged that 
such a course would mean the death of one of the two 
men, and Zobeir was kept in Cairo. Gordon must 
have known that Zobeir was a man of power, the man 
to lead his countrymen, and later urgently begged the 
English Government to send him out to Khartoum as 




ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 267 

Governor-General. The Egyptian government sup- 
ported this, but our Cabinet, wanting Gordon to con- 
fine himself to his mission, and knowing Zobeir to be 
a great slave-dealer, refused. 

Thus Gordon, by changing his policy, and the Eng- 
lish ministers, by not changing theirs, each contributed 
to the final result. 

The revealing of his hand shut the Sudan to Gordon, 
and a little more than a month after his arrival in 
Khartoum the tribes all around had joined the Mahdi. 
He had in the first weeks sent away 2,500 people, but 
he still had with him nearly 10,000 troops, there being 
left in the town at the end about 4000 Bashi-Bazouks, 
nearly 3000 irregulars, and many black soldiers. 

In April 1884 there was a strong desire to send a 
relief expedition out, and Gladstone was in favour of 
sending cavalry to Berber to ensure Gordon's safety, 
but the Cabinet decided against it. 

Great pressure was put on the Government by the 
Queen, by the Opposition and by the people, until 
at last an expedition was decided upon. Then was 
fought "the battle of the routes," when the generals 
sat in council in London and squabbled with unabated 
tenacity for month after month whether the force 
should go up the Nile or through the desert, so it 
was August before a start was made, and at long last the 
passage up the Nile began. 

In Gordon's Journal there are many curious pas- 
sages about the expedition. In September he wrote : 
" I think I can say truly that I never asked for a 
British expedition." In October he asked what it was 



268 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

coming out for, saying he could not understand it. 
If it was for the purpose of relieving him he deprecated 
it; he could get away at any time, adding that if it 
did reach Khartoum he would not go away with it 
unless he could take the whole garrison with him. 
" No one can judge of the waste of money and expense 
of life in the present expedition ; it is an utter waste of 
both, but it is due to the indecision of the Government." 
" If the Europeans like to go to the Equator I will 
give them steamers, but I will not leave these people 
after all they have gone through." " I decline to 
agree that the expedition comes for my relief ; it comes 
for the relief of the garrisons, which I failed to accom- 
plish. I expect her Majesty's Government are in a 
precious rage with me for holding out and forcing their 
hand." 

He frequently gave the people in Khartoum per- 
mission to join the Mahdi, and gradually about 20,000 
drifted away, leaving 14,000 in all in the town. 

For six months the Mahdi's army was stationed 
around them waiting, and the garrison's food was 
getting very low. But when Gordon knew that the 
British force was nearing him he ordered that the 
greater part of it should be sent to Berber, and thus 
it was a comparatively small number which at last got 
to Khartoum. What Gordon knew the Mahdi knew, 
and two days before the arrival of the British, the 
latter judged that it was time to strike. By treachery 
or by attack his troops entered the town and Gordon 
was shot. 

" Too late ! " screamed every one as they turned to 



. . 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 269 

rend the Government and in especial to rend Glad- 
stone. But late was not really the word. Had the 
expedition arrived months earlier the result would 
probably have been the same, and in no case could 
the relief column have carried sufficient food to help 
the garrison to march away. There were so many 
" ifs " in the whole matter, and applicable no less to 
Gordon himself than to the English Government and 
the English generals. 

Gordon's temperament appealed to the public, and, 
combined with his religion, his championship of a 
forlorn hope and his long resistance of the wild desert 
forces, enshrined him in the national imagination as 
a hero and a martyr. It was a time of emotion, not of 
thought, and even now the generation of that day will 
refuse to recognize anything but the emotional aspect. 

Of all the Queen gave way most unrestrainedly to 
her emotions. Her first act was to send a telegram to 
Gladstone and Lord Hartington, not in cypher as usual 
but in plain English a small and unworthy act 
blaming them entirely for what had happened, saying 
that it was too fearful to realize that the fall of Khar- 
toum might have been prevented and many precious 
lives saved if they had taken earlier action. She put 
the whole burden on her Prime Minister's shoulders, 
and saw in him nothing less than a murderer. 

She wrote also to Miss Gordon, the general's sister, 
a letter filled with regret, grief, anger and extrava- 
gance. "How shall I write to you or how shall I 
attempt to express what I feel ? To think of your dear, 
noble, heroic brother, who served his country and his 



Queen so truly, so heroically, with a self-sacrifice so 
edifying to the world, to think that he was not saved ! 
That the promises of help were not kept promises 
of which I so often and so constantly reminded those 
who should have fulfilled them ; ah ! it is to me grief 
inexpressible. Indeed it has made me ill. . . . Would 
you express to your other sisters and your elder 
brother my true sympathy, and what I do so keenly 
feel the stain left upon England for your dear 
brother's cruel, though heroic fate." 

Miss Gordon sent her brother's Bible as a present 
to the Queen, and in July sent his diary for her 
Majesty's perusal. The reading of it, with the curious 
evidence it gives of the writer's character, his change- 
ability and obstinacy, in no way modified her admira- 
tion for him, and she wrote again of her mortification 
at the vacillation of her ministers. 

Henry Gordon, at the end of his book, " Events in 
the Life of Charles G, Gordon," put the chief blame 
on the refusal of the Egyptian Government to accept 
General Gordon's help when the British Government 
offered it in 1883, saying that in that case Gordon 
would have been in Khartoum by the new year, and 
have easily then have brought the whole garrison 
away. But who knows ? Charles Gordon might have 
refused then, as later, to bring any one away until 
he had carried out his impossible scheme of political 
reorganization. 

Germany's ruler, Bismarck, greatly enjoyed the con- 
templation of our trouble, and started one of his periodic 
attempts to excite German feeling against England, 



ANGER AND MORTIFICATION 271 

employing Busch, whose greatest joy was in licking the 
Chancellor-Emperor's boots, to write articles for the 
German papers notably the Grenzboten showing 
England to be guilty of great crimes. One article 
dealt with Protection, another with England and China, 
declaring that by restrictive legislation England had 
caused famine and cholera in India and was respon- 
sible for cholera in West Africa and Europe. Eng- 
land and the Boers, England and Russia were the 
themes of other of these articles. Busch tells how he 
and Bucher one of like kidney rejoiced together 
over England's misfortunes in the Sudan, and the latter 
expressed the hope that Wolseley's head would soon 
arrive in Cairo nicely pickled and packed ! He also 
explains how the Sultan's refusal to see after his own 
possessions was influenced by threats from Germany. 

The crisis in the Sudan was not concluded by the 
tragedy of Khartoum; that had to be followed by a 
decision either to destroy the Mahdi or to evacuate the 
Sudan altogether. The latter alternative was decided 
upon, and in April Gladstone wrote to the Queen, who 
was then abroad, and she replied with a vehement 
protest against the decision, saying that it would affect 
our position in India, and demanding that Wolseley 
and our political representative in Egypt, Evelyn 
Baring (since Lord Cromer) should have an absolutely 
free hand to do what they thought. To her first 
objection it could only be pointed out that India 
alone demanded the policy decided upon, for Russia, 
believing Britain fully occupied in the Sudan, was 
again attacking Afghanistan; and the second was 



272 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

answered by Baring sending a spontaneous recom- 
mendation that the Sudan be abandoned. 

When Britain's need was defence, the Government 
was quick enough to act, and in the Afghan quarrel 
steps were at once taken which considerably helped the 
settlement of the matter by negotiation. 



CHAPTER XVII 

"JOHN BROWN'S BODY" 

"That terrible struggle for life in the lonely plantation near 
the Fisheries." Daily Paper. 

"The Prince, become King, had the statue removed before 
he even saw his castle ; the ' mansion ' he bought from the 
servant's heirs, and dedicated it to his own use. So did all 
trace of the favourite disappear from Balmoral." Contem- 
porary Note. 

I HAVE no intention of dealing with Irish affairs 
they were too engrossing, too complicated and too 
immense; but in 1880 began a cycle of distress, rebel- 
lion, agrarian crime and coercion. Fenianism was 
again rampant, and great anxiety was felt over the 
royal journey from Scotland to Windsor in the autumn 
of 1880. For three or four years the world seemed 
to suifer from madness as it does suffer occasionally 
and Ireland was mad, only with more cause than 
the rest of the globe. The assassinations, the incipient 
revolts which underlay them, and the insecurity which 
the Queen felt under the rule of Gladstone (believing 
as she did that under him revolution was encouraged), 
all combined to produce a condition of nervousness 
on Victoria's mind which each new blow increased. 

In March 1881 the Tsar of Russia was killed by a 

bomb, the lower part of his body being blown away; 
T 273 



274 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in the summer President Garfield was shot, and in 
March 1882, as Victoria was walking from the train 
at Windsor to her carriage, a crazy youth, named 
Robert McLean, fired a Colt's revolver at her from 
a distance of a few yards, an Eton boy saving her by 
beating up McLean's arm with an umbrella. Other 
Etonians who were near tried to lynch him. For- 
tunately no one was hit, though, for the first time in 
the history of the many bogus attempts at assassina- 
tion of our Queen, there was proof that the revolver 
was loaded. * 

Victoria, with her usual courage under such events, 
drove on to the castle, and wired reassuringly to 
Marlborough House. McLean, a clerk out of em- 
ployment, was tried at Reading, and, being found to 
be insane, was detained for life. 

In May of the same year news of a dreadful Irish 
tragedy came at the end of a day on which the seal 
had been set on the accomplishment of a good deed. 
There had been revelations of abuses in the city, and 
the Government had talked of reforming the City 
Corporation; so, as a sop to Cerberus, Epping Forest 
was set in order and presented to the public by the 
City fathers, and on May 6 her Majesty went in semi- 
state to declare it duly open. 

A noted journalist gives the following account of 
the occasion and of the news which followed hard 
upon it 

" It was a day of bright sunshine as Queen Victoria 
drove from Chingford to High Beach to declare 
Epping Forest open for the use of the people for 



< JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 275 

all time. . . . We were quietly snatching a hasty 
lunch in a marquee beside the dais. . . . Suddenly, 
a few minutes before the expected time, a blare of 
trumpets announced the Queen's approach. Ministers 
and Pressmen alike were on the alert ; Lord Granville, 
one of the most homely of Secretaries of State, not 
only filled his mouth with part of a sandwich he was 
eating, but carried the rest on to the platform. The 
happy chronicle of the royal rejoicings in Epping 
Forest, which closed with one of Messrs. Brock's 
matchless firework displays, had scarcely been com- 
pleted when there came ' Terrible News from Ireland.' 
The assassination under such savage circumstances of 
Lord Frederick Cavendish and his under-secretary, 
Mr. Burke, was clearly and correctly reported. This 
fact is emphasized on account of its having been so 
often stated that the London public heard nothing of 
the diabolical occurrence until Monday morning. Not 
only was the news given, but in some comments I said, 
' The crime shatters at a blow Mr. Gladstone's hope 
of pursuing a gentle policy.' " 1 

Ireland was, indeed, badly served by her revolu- 
tionaries, and she knew it. When the words of Lady 
Frederick Cavendish surely one of the noblest of 
women to Mr. Gladstone, " You did right to send 
him to Ireland, Uncle William," were told by a priest 
from the altar of a chapel in Connemara Road, Dublin, 
the whole congregation spontaneously fell down on 
their knees. Parnell offered to resign his seat imme- 
diately, but Gladstone would not allow it, rightly 
1 My Life's Pilgrimage. By Thomas Catling. 



276 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

regarding the Irish leader as the last restraining 
influence upon the Fenians. 

The very month that this took place a tatterdemalion 
named Albert Young was sentenced to imprisonment 
for openly threatening the death of Queen Victoria 
and Prince Leopold. The Queen was a very brave 
woman, but this succession of horrible events made 
her soul quail. She believed in the strong arm no 
talking, little thinking; if you are hit, no matter how 
or why, hit back as hard as you can. Gladstone's 
appeal to justice and reason were to her but signs of 
weakness; she never owned herself wrong, and that 
he had owned England wrong in Africa and Afghan- 
istan enraged her; that he had tried to meet Irish 
desperation by conceding reforms, by treatment rather 
than by force, woke her scorn, and she blamed him 
for the deep unrest which had produced these Irish 
murders by members of a secret society who did not 
even know whom they were killing, that they were 
English gentlemen being sufficient excuse. 

Under Disraeli's Government her Majesty had felt 
buoyant, hopeful, young again; now a black atmo- 
sphere of treachery and murder surrounded her. She 
refused each year through this Government to be 
present at the opening of Parliament. In 1883 she 
was at Windsor, and that she would not come even 
that short distance aroused indignation in some 
quarters : " To be at Windsor and yet to refuse to 
run up to town is as good as saying, ' My faithful 
Lords and Commons, you can get on very well without 
me, and I don't care to see you. Do your duty, but 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 277 

don't bother me while I am looking after the youngest 
of the many grandchildren whom you will have to 
provide for some day.' ' Such was one contemporary 
comment. 

One of the causes of this recrudescence of public 
irritation was that, Gladstone having been very ill, 
the Liberals, jealous for the honour of the minister, 
noted that there was no hint of " kind inquiries " by 
the Queen, and they recalled the anxious assiduity 
with which Beaconsfield's bedside had been attended : 
"At the time when the Court was required to go into 
mourning for an unknown German, it was a question 
whether Gladstone would be well enough ever to 
handle again the ribbons of State." 

There was, however, a difference of degree in the 
illnesses as well as in her Majesty's solicitude. As 
a matter of fact, she was duly informed of her Prime 
Minister's state, though she made no inquiries, and, 
seeing happy possibility before her, she seized upon 
it by causing Ponsonby to write and urge Gladstone 
to retire from the greater part of his active work and 
become a peer. But there were some reforms that the 
Prime Minister still wished to make, and he politely 
refused the distinguished offer of superannuation, a 
refusal which damped Victoria's sympathies. 

Victorian Court mourning was a wonderful and 
intricate invention, for it had been elevated I cannot 
say to a fine art, for there was nothing artistic about 
it; but if I say an exact science though there are 
those who will scoff it best describes it. The death 
of a cousin of the last recognizable degree was sup- 



278 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

posed to cause the members of the Court anguish, 
modified according to the closeness of the relationship, 
which also decided the amount of black that was to 
be worn. Thus when in January of 1883 a brother of 
the Emperor William died, a gentleman whose mind 
was not very strong I believe, the Court mourning 
orders were : women to wear for one week black 
dresses, white gloves, black or white shoes, feathers 
and fans, pearls, diamonds or plain gold and silver 
ornaments. Men to wear black Court dress with black 
swords. For the second week the women were allowed 
coloured ribbons, flowers and ornaments; and then all 
were to go out of mourning. 

Death was at this time horribly busy in the Queen's 
circle of friends. To her grief, Dean Stanley was 
one of those taken; as Lord Ronald Gower com- 
mented : " He is a greater loss to the Queen than to 
the Church"; Archbishop Tait, who by his good 
sense, solid qualities and intellectual simplicity had 
won her friendship; and Dr. Wellesley, the Dean of 
Windsor, also slipped out of life. In February 1881 
Thomas Carlyle died, and Queen Victoria sent to 
inquire about him, not knowing that he had already 
passed away. "As we sat in the parlour the street- 
door bell rang, and ' a messenger from the Queen ' 
was said to be in the passage; I went out at Mary's 
request, and found a Scotchman of middle age, who 
said he was ' sent by the Queen to inquire after 
Mr. Carlyle.' I told him of the death, asked him 
no questions. He may have been John Brown." 1 
1 William Allingham: a Diary. 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 279 

In February 1883 a sergeant, William Maye, of 
the ist Battalion Coldstreams, went to relieve the 
guard at Windsor Castle, and died suddenly at his 
post. This tragic event made a deep impression on 
Victoria, who insisted on attending the funeral, a 
military one, and followed the cortege to the cemetery. 
She drove with Princess Beatrice in an open carriage, 
General Sir Henry Ponsonby and Colonel Byng being 
in attendance on horseback. Victoria did not alight, 
but watched the interment from her carriage, having 
sent a handsome wreath for the coffin, and returning 
to the castle after the firing of three volleys over the 
grave. She probably had a definite reason for this, 
in addition to the sympathy which she always felt over 
bereavement by death. In October 1875 the old 
farmer, John Brown, father of her servant, had died in 
his eighty-seventh year. He had been known to her, 
as had other tenants and cottagers on the Balmoral 
estate, probably for thirty years; but it was her affec- 
tion for her servant which induced her to go to the 
funeral, and to command the greater part of her house- 
hold to be present. Princess Beatrice, the Marchioness 
of Ely, the Hon. M. West, three doctors and others, 

ithe upper and outdoor servants, all went up to the 
home of the widow, a poor blind old woman sitting 
in her kitchen and mourning the loss of her lifelong 
companion. On the other side of the house door, in 
a tiny room, lay the coffin. As the road was impass- 
able for the hearse the coffin had to be carried by the 
Brown brothers from the house to where the convey- 
ance stood. Though it was raining hopelessly, the 



Queen and Princess Beatrice followed to the hearse, 
and then, standing on a hillside, watched the proces- 
sion and the crowd which had come as much to see 
the Queen as to do respect to the dead man wind 
along the road. " The sons were there, whom I dis- 
tinguished easily from their being near good Brown, 
who wore his kilts, walking near the hearse. All 
walked except our gentlemen, who drove. It for- 
tunately ceased raining just then. I went back to 
the house and tried to soothe dear old Mrs. Brown, 
and gave her a mourning brooch with a little bit of 
her husband's hair which had been cut off yesterday. 
. . . We took some whisky-and-water and cheese, 
according to the universal Highland custom, and then 
left. . . . We drove quickly on, and I saw them go 
into the kirkyard, and through my glasses I could see 
them carry the coffin in. I was grieved I could not 
be in the kirkyard." l 

This incident, duly reported in the English news- 
papers, caused both comment and criticism. It was 
said that her Majesty could not do honour enough to 
her Highland servants and their relations, and that 
she had never been known to pay one tithe of such 
attention to any poor Windsor dependants. So whei 
a soldier fell dead at her palace door she demonstrated 
her martial position, and showed her English subjects 
that it was possible for her to grieve even over a 
humble Englishman. 

There is a curious little contrasting touch in the 

following, taken from Sir Algernon West's Reminis- 

1 More Leaves from the Journal. By Queen Victoria. 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 281 

cences. His friend Alfred Montgomery, who died in 
1 88 1, was one whose "sense of humour and wit lasted 
till the end; one day during his illness the Prince of 
Wales called on him, and shortly afterwards the 
Princess. On her departure, he said to the servant, 
' Should the Queen call, say that I am too tired to 
see her Majesty.' Curiously enough, he once told 
me that though he had been in the Queen's household 
since her Majesty's accession, she had never once 
spoken to him." 

Other honours had been done John Brown. Balna- 
choil, a fine house, popularly described as a mansion, 
had been built for his occupation at Balmoral, and 
given to him and his heirs for ever; some of the finest 
fishing and shooting on the Balmoral estate were 
strictly reserved for him; circumstances were made 
so easy for him that he was amassing a fortune, and 
it was rumoured that royal visitors to the castle were 
always enjoined or did it of their own free wills 
to leave a trifle for the favourite servant. The sum 
of 20,000 was named as his savings after his death, 
but that was perhaps an exaggeration. He had also 
been honoured, as a result of his mistress's praise of 
him to others, with a decoration from the King of 
Greece, while another distinguished person at Mentone 
had given him a gold medal. 

On the few occasions on which the Queen appeared 
in public John Brown was even more eagerly looked 
for than her Majesty, and at the opening of the new 
Law Courts in December 1882 some one remarked, 
" Everything considered, he looks well. He shows no 



282 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

sign as yet of suffering from his duty." We hear of 
him from Madame Waddington (My First Years as 
a Frenchwoman) in Paris with his mistress, and wait- 
ing at the door of the room in the British Embassy 
until the Queen came out that he might shake 
hands with Mr. Waddington and invite him to come 
to Scotland, "where he would receive a hearty 
welcome." 

He had become more assertive, more lofty; there 
was no appeal against his word; and such a person 
has more enemies than friends. One man only he 
dared not interfere with, and that was Lohlein, the 
German valet who had come to England with Prince 
Albert. He did not hesitate to offer advice or com- 
ment to the sons and daughters of his mistress, and 
there are various allusions in the Queen's journals 
which show that Brown's opinion on everything was 
of import. Thus at the unveiling of the statue to 
Prince Albert at Edinburgh in 1876, at the end of 
the description we are told that Brown " was delighted 
with the reception." When the Duke of Connaught 
returned to Balmoral after the Egyptian war, and the 
Albanys came home from their honeymoon, in face of 
royalties and aristocrats Brown stepped forward and 
asked them all to join in a Highland cheer for the 
bride and bridegroom. On the anniversary of the 
Prince Consort's birthday in 1876 the Queen notes: 
" I gave my faithful Brown an oxydized silver biscuit 
box and some onyx studs. He was greatly pleased 
with the former and the tears came into his eyes, and 
he said, ' It is too much.' ... I gave my maids some 




'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 283 

trifles from Dunbar; and to Janie Ely, the gentlemen 
and the servants a trifle each." 

When Brown died in 1883, at the age of fifty-seven, 
it must be realized that Victoria was already badly 
shaken by the many assassinations, her disappoint- 
ments in foreign policy, her rooted distrust of a Liberal 
Government, and a succession of threatening letters 
sent to herself. It was probably in conjunction with 
these that Sir John Cowell, Master of the Household, 
issued some curious instructions to servants at Windsor 
in February 1883. Those who were on duty at the 
castle were forbidden to leave the palace, and those 
who went home to sleep were forbidden to visit music- 
halls, theatres or any place of public amusement; in 
addition, if any in their homes were suffering from 
illness, they were to report it and stay away from the 
castle altogether. This reminds one of the present 
Kaiser, who throughout his reign has occasionally 
issued such notices, and who, on hearing of any one 
suffering from a cold or sore throat even remotely 
connected with his household, would at once flee and 
seek shelter in another of his numerous castles or 
palaces. 

On March 15, 1883, a Fenian attempt to blow up 
the Home Office failed; at Liverpool the police were 
busy with an organized band of dynamitards, and all 
public buildings were being watched by pickets and 
guards. When the Queen travelled at this time the 
whole length of the line was guarded by men stationed 
at distances which allowed of their being in sight of 
each other, and carrying flags and noisy fog-signals. 



284 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Two days after the attempt on the Home Office, 
Victoria, then at Windsor Castle, slipped on the stairs 
of the palace and caught her knee with such violence 
on the marble edge that it gave her much pain; and 
at this very moment happened the event which led 
to Brown's death. A certain young woman, Lady 
Florence Dixie, well known at the time in society- 
one who, like Dryden's Duke of Buckingham, had 
tried her hands at many things, and who lived at 
The Fisheries, a riverside house close to Windsor- 
had been writing letters to The Times about the Irish 
Land League. On Saturday the i/th, at about half- 
past four she walked near her house, and a little later 
returned to it in a state of agitation, disarray and mud, 
and with a cut hand. Her story was that two very 
tall women had attacked her, one throwing her down, 
the other stabbing at her with a knife, the blow being 
deflected by the whalebone of her stays. At the second 
stab Lady Florence seized the knife with both hands 
and shouted, upon which a handful of mud was pushed 
into her mouth, nearly choking her. The arrival of 
her St. Bernard dog coincided with her own loss of 
consciousness, and when she recovered the two people, 
whom she was convinced were men in disguise, had 
disappeared. 

This event naturally caused a great sensation, and 
the Queen received the news as quickly as it could fly. 
The Prince of Wales and every one round sent con- 
dolences and inquiries to The Fisheries, but no one 
was so affected as Victoria, for here was another 
attempted assassination at her very gate and in broad 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 285 

daylight. On the Sunday her Majesty refused to take 
her usual drive, and sent first the Marchioness of Ely, 
then Lord Methuen and Sir Henry Ponsonby, to The 
Fisheries. Not content with that, she asked Brown 
to examine the ground where the attack had been 
made. He drove there in an open cart, a present to 
him from the Queen, and closely examined everything, 
including the dog, feeling so puzzled with the whole 
case that he spent much time over it exposed to a 
bitter wind. 

It may be mentioned that other people beside John 
Brown were very much puzzled, as the place at which 
the affair occurred was open to view from a well- 
frequented road, and the two women, or men, might 
have been wraiths from the way in which they entirely 
vanished. The only evidence of their presence was 
said to be the marks of hobnailed boots in the mud. 
Conviction generally spread, whether justly or un- 
justly, that love of notoriety was alone responsible 
for a theatrical episode. 

The results were, however, serious for John Brown 
and the Queen. He took a bad cold, and for a week, 
while going about his duties, seemed unwell. On 
Monday the 26th he was too ill to get up, and 
erysipelas developed. Dr. Reid attended him, and 
Sir William Jenner was sent for on Tuesday morning. 
He died at 11.30 that night, killed, as some one 
said, by kindness, for a Highlander to die of a 
cold caught in a wind implied a too luxurious state 
of living. 

The grief of the Queen was intense and noisy; her 



286 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

exasperated nerves entirely gave way; she blamed 
Ireland, criminal Ireland, which had stolen from her 
her servant and friend; she blamed Gladstone, who 
had hoped by legislation alone to tame the wild land. 
Her mind became obsessed with Brown, and she drew 
up a notice to be inserted in the Court Circular of 
March 29, which ran to the length of twenty-five lines; 
an unprecedented feature in the whole history of that 
public record of trivialities 

" We have to record the death of Mr. John Brown, 
the Queen's personal attendant. This melancholy 
event has caused the deepest regret to the Queen, 
the Royal Family and all the members of the Royal 
Household. To her Majesty the loss is irreparable, 
and the death of this truly faithful and devoted servant 
has been a grievous shock to the Queen. . . . During 
the last eighteen and a half years he served her 
Majesty constantly, and never once absented himself 
from his duty for a single day. He has accompanied 
the Queen in her daily walks and drives, and all her 
journeys and expeditions, as well as personally wait- 
ing on her at banquets, etc. An honest, faithful and 
devoted follower, a trustworthy, discreet and straight- 
forward man, and possessed of strong sense, he filled 
a position of great and anxious responsibility, the 
duties of which he performed with such constant and 
unceasing care as to secure for himself the real friend- 
ship of the Queen." 

In this the Queen practically asked for her people's 
sympathy, and they gave it warmly, recognizing the 
true facts of the case; but most Englishmen felt that 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 287 

the death of this too prominent servant removed one 
who had long been damaging to royal prestige. 

Brown's body was sent to be buried at Craithie 
churchyard, near the river Dee, where, at Victoria's 
order, a mausoleum of brick and encaustic tiles was 
built alongside the grave of his father ; and the funeral 
was attended by all the servants at Balmoral. The 
Queen sent an extraordinary wreath for the coffin, one 
more suitable to a wedding, for it was composed of 
myrtle and white flowers. To it was attached the 
words: "A gracious expression of her Majesty's per- 
sonal sense of the loss she has sustained, and of her 
affection for her faithful servant." (When will royalty 
allow a sense of humour to correct the bad taste of 
royal custom? When her Majesty graciously does 
something, the word is suitable from the pen of the 
reporter or the secretary, but there is a snobbish tinge 
about it when she deliberately uses it herself that 
makes it offensive.) At the hour at which John Brown 
was buried a service was held in his apartments at 
Windsor Castle, being attended by the Queen and 
Princess Beatrice. 

After this the public announcements of the Queen's 
ill-health were accompanied by vague and sinister 
rumours. Sir William Jenner was in constant attend- 
ance. It was stated that her fall and the shock 
of John Brown's death had made her condition the 
cause of much solicitude; that rest, both mental and 
physical, was imperatively needed, for she could not 
stand long without anguish, and soon, wearied of any 
intellectual effort ; while the inflammation of the blood 



288 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

was one of the worst signs. But the rumours went 
further, and there were whispers of some coming 
momentous change if the doctors could not overcome 
the weakness of the Queen : " We should be elad 

-~ / o 

that there is no immediate prospect of a change on 
the throne." She had entirely given up driving, and 
never appeared outside the castle gates, and gossip 
had it that she feared assassination ; the truth probably 
being that she was too ill to go out. 

A curious order, made in the middle of April, that 
" in consequence of the mortality of sheep and lambs 

the Queen has commanded that no lamb shall be 
p , 

served in the Royal Household this season " raised 
something like consternation, showing as it did a lack 
of knowledge of the sheep-rearing industry. A fort- 
night later, upon the representations made to her, the 
Queen said, in effect, revenons a nos moutons for the 
order was rescinded. 

Victoria was to have gone on a visit to Sandringham, 
but it was put off, then arranged and again put off, 
and at last she went to Osborne on April 17. The 
journey was made in rigid privacy; from the castle 
she drove in a closed carriage, with equerries riding 
by the windows; the public and even the station 
officials were dispensed with at the stations, and all 
along the line no heads of railway departments were 
allowed to be on the platforms. In May the return 
was made in the same way, and on the 25th of that 
month she went to Balmoral under the same signs oi 
secrecy, a great screen of evergreens being put up 
Perth to hide her when passing to her breakfast-room. 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 289 

There followed many strange stories as to her mental 
condition, especially as the doctors were reported to 
be very anxious about her; suggestions were made 
that the injured knee was but an innocent fiction 
intended to disguise the true state of affairs, and 
further whispers among those who were around her 
Majesty at the time were spread abroad to the effect 
that possibly a Regency would be arranged. 

Later on the Queen indignantly protested that no 
woman who had to be lifted to and from her carriage 
in a chair would wish a crowd to stand watching the 
process, and that this was the cause of her journeys 
being so privately conducted. 

It was hoped that the change of air and scene at 
Balmoral would have a good effect upon the Queen's 
health, but, to the disappointment of every one, it but 
deepened the depression. This was somewhat natural, 
as the whole place was reminiscent of John Brown, 
and all her thought was for his memory. Arriving at 
Balmoral in the morning, she ordered everything to 
be in readiness to take her to Craithie churchyard, 
and after a short luncheon drove with Princess Beatrice 
and Dr. Profeit to the spot. A few days later she 
was there again, carrying with her a wreath to lay 
upon the grave. The servants at Balmoral were 
ordered to wear mourning bands round their arms for 
him, and the royal servants contributed unquestion- 
ingly to a memorial subscription fund. The royal 
birthday passed without rejoicings, and there were no 
servants' or tenants' parties. 

The memoirs which John Brown left were never 
u 



290 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

published, all his papers being, by the Queen's com- 
mand, taken possession of by Sir Henry Ponsonby. 
Boehm, the sculptor, was ordered to make a life-sized 
statue of the dead man, which in the following year 
was mounted on a pedestal and placed close to the 
castle at Balmoral; and at Osborne was placed 
another monument to his memory in the shape of a 
granite seat, upon which the Queen had some pathetic 
lines engraved. 

When at Osborne in August Victoria summoned 
Tennyson for one of those interviews which gave so 
much pleasure to both, and asked him to write an 
epitaph to put on the tomb at Craithie. The poet, 
however, sent her a quotation, and Victoria had a 
stone put over John Brown's grave which rivalled that 
to Beaconsfield, the inscription running 



JOHN BROWN 

THE DEVOTED AND FAITHFUL PERSONAL ATTENDANT AND BELOVED 

FRIEND OF QUEEN VICTORIA. ' THAT FRIEND ON WHOSE 

FIDELITY YOU COUNT, THAT FRIEND GIVEN YOU BY 

CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH YOU HAVE NO 

CONTROL, WAS GOD'S OWN GIFT.' 

Of her last interview with the Laureate, which took 
place a little later in the year, the Queen wrote : 
"When I took leave of him, I thanked him for his 
kindness and said I needed it, for I had gone through 
much ; and he said, ' You're so alone on that terrible 
height; it is terrible. I've only a year or two to live. 






4 JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 291 

but I shall be happy to do anything for you I can send 
for me whenever you like.' I thanked him warmly." 

Victoria had intended to go to the Continent in 
June, and her yacht, the Osborne y was docked at Ports- 
mouth, thirty workmen busy at getting it ready; but 
at the last the journey was postponed, the royal party 
only returning from Balmoral on the 23rd of the 
month, when the Queen had to be carried to the train 
in an invalid chair, and for almost the first time in 
her life being half an hour late in starting. In July 
she went to Osborne, and in August returned to 
Balmoral ; and now we get one of the first indications 
that she was beginning to feel that her presence was 
to some extent necessary to her ministers, for that 
journey was postponed some days, as Parliament had 
not been prorogued. However, once in Scotland she 
remained there three months, coming back at the end 
of November through heavy snow, and under threats 
that explosives would be placed on the lines. An 
extra pilot-engine preceded the train, and extra guards 
were stationed, one in sight of the other, for the whole 
six hundred miles ; and nothing happened. 

This autumn the Queen amused herself by pre- 
paring her second series of journals, More Leaves 
from the Journal of a Life in the Highlands; and 
when it was issued, in 1884, it bore the dedication 

;< To my loyal Highlanders and especially to the 
memory of my devoted personal attendant and faithful 
friend, John Brown, these records of my widowed life 
in Scotland are gratefully dedicated. 

"Victoria, R. I." 



292 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The volume concluded with a short appreciation 
of John Brown, one paragraph in which ran : " His 
loss to me (ill and helpless as I was at the time from 
an accident) is irreparable, for he deservedly pos- 
sessed my entire confidence; and to say that he is 
daily, nay hourly, missed by me, whos'e lifelong 
gratitude he won by his constant care, attention and 
devotion, is but a feeble expression of the truth." 

This whole John Brown incident is typical of 
Victoria's character. From the very first she had been 
unable to stand alone; she needed a stronger per- 
sonality to support her. Melbourne, Prince Albert, 
John Brown, these had, each in his turn, afforded that 
support : Melbourne entirely during her youthful 
exercise of power; her husband had wielded the power 
for her and left her happy with the appearance of it; 
John Brown slid insensibly into the position of con- 
fidential helper and stay, and she discussed every- 
thing with him, being delighted with his shrewd 
answers. At a time when she was lonely, overworked 
by her own indiscriminating will, the subject of her 
people's bitter disappointment and discontent, bear- 
ing many sorrows caused by death, this man, strong, 
devoted and capable, stood always by her side. The 
mere personal proximity during so many years, com- 
bined with some natural sympathy between their 
natures, drew him slowly into his position of close 
friend as well as of attentive servant. Her simplicity 
and frankness, as well as her invincible faith in her , 
high position, blinded her to the impropriety of her 
constant public recognition of him, to the possibilit 



6 JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 293 

that vulgar gossip born of anger could arise; to 
the natural contrast which the public must draw 
between her attitude to a simple Scotch peasant and 
her own eldest son, heir to her throne. 

Every one knew that the Prince of Wales was never 
consulted on matters of State policy, that his ambi- 
tions were forcibly bounded by the laying of founda- 
tion-stones and the opening of charitable institutions. 
It was also known, as time went on, that when he 
saw younger men than himself holding positions of 
great power and influence he openly regretted that 
he had been delegated at the beginning of his career 
to the duties of a social figurehead, and it was said 
that he aspired to higher things. His many journeys 
abroad, laughed at by some, were regarded by others 
as a deliberate self-training in the knowledge of 
people, statesmen and feeling in different countries, 
and as providing the means of studying the effects of 
our foreign policy both at home and abroad. Quite 
unconsciously to himself the exaltation of John Brown 
turned the people's attention to the Prince, and they 
centred their hopes in him. 

However, the Queen, engrossed in her feelings, 
knew nothing of this, and to the day of her death 
shut out of her counsels the man who should have 
been her chief support. She continued to hold her- 
self aloof from great and small, while the Prince and 
Princess of Wales broke through the cold and rigid 
German Court etiquette by mingling with those who 
were virtually their subjects, and accepting invitations 
in London and the country. It had never been done 



294 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

before with anything like the same freedom, and 
foreign Court pedants as well as her Majesty looked 
on aghast. But it brought them close to the nation, 
and though Albert Edward spoke English with a 
strong German accent, he was regarded as more 
English than his mother. 

The long series of deaths which had so distressed 
the Queen came temporarily to an end in 1884 when 
Prince Leopold died suddenly at Cannes. He had 
married in 1882, and was given as a wedding present 
Claremont and all it contained by her Majesty, who 
bought it outright from the State. He inherited his 
father's tastes, and on the rare occasions on which he 
chaired a meeting his speeches much resembled those 
of Prince Albert. In the general irritation against 
royalty, it was said that it was impossible that one of 
the Queen's sons could make a decent speech, and 
that they were written for him ; but there was no reason 
to believe that this was anything more than idle spite. 
He alone of the four brothers spoke English with a 
pure accent. His little daughter was born in 1883; 
his son's birth did not take place until after his death. 

Leopold craved for some active position, but his 
health and his mother's solicitude enforced great 
restrictions upon him. He particularly hoped to be 
made Governor-General of Canada, and Gladstone 
would have been quite willing to give him the post, 
but the Queen forbade, and the Prince felt much hurt 
at the Prime Minister's refusal. Early in March 1884 
he went to Cannes to avoid the bitter east winds, and 
there, at the Cercle Nautique, he, too, slipped on the 



'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' 295 

stairs and again hurt his knee. He was taken to the 
Villa Nevada, where he was residing, and seemed little 
the worse, but in the night he died in an epileptic fit. 
He was buried at Windsor, and, having been totally 
unable to lead a physically active life, the Queen 
ordered a full military funeral, his body being borne 
by the Seaforth Highlanders, for iri this regiment she 
had given him one of those much-discussed honorary 
colonelcies. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE GERMAN INVASION 

" He is a dear, good, amiable, high-principled young man, 

who, I am sure, will make our dearest very happy, and 

she will, I am sure, be a most devoted, loving wife to him. 
She is very, very happy, and it is a pleasure to see their young, 
happy faces beaming with love for one another." Letters of 
Queen Victoria. 

"I am far more proud of my Stuart than of my Hanoverian 
ancestors." Queen Victoria. 

IF Queen Victoria never neglected her duty at a 
funeral, and pleased her sentiment by remembering all 
death anniversaries, she extended that thought and 
sentiment to more cheerful things, and gave her pro- 
tection to constant lovers. It is impossible for the 
ordinary commoner to believe that royal marriages are 
not solely the result of interested considerations, and 
however much it may be protested that a young 
princess or prince has made a love match, there are 
few to give the statement credence. However, the 
Queen helped forward some marriages which seem to 
have had their origin in sheer romance. 

One of these took place in 1880 when Frederica, 
" the lily of Hanover," the daughter of Victoria's blind 
cousin George, whom Bismarck had deposed in 1866, 
owned herself in love with one of her father's late 

equerries, Baron Pawell von Rammingen. This was 

296 




THE GERMAN INVASION 297 

certainly not a marriage of high degree for a princess, 
a great-granddaughter of George III of England and 
daughter of an ancient line of German kings. 

George of Hanover, Frederica's brother, was then 
living in Vienna, and there seemed little prospect 
before Frederica other than that of a lone lady of 
somewhat restricted means, when love pointed out the 
way. Finding herself hopeless against the world at 
the moment of her grand passion, she appealed to 
her earlier protectress, the Queen of England. The 
adventure pleased the Queen, who did not go all the 
way with German punctiliousness where true love was 
concerned. She arranged that the wedding should 
take place in her private chapel at Windsor. Remon- 
strance reached her from the Court of the German 
Emperor, and the whole of the etiquette-ruled nations 
looked askance upon the marriage, affecting to dis- 
believe that the Queen could have promised her 
support. Victoria was, however, determined that they 
should make no mistake about her sanction, and 
ordered that a list of the presents should appear in 
the Court Circular, and two days later had the dress 
and veil fully described and acknowledged as her 
gifts. 

Thus she made two people happy, but one would 
imagine that the Baron was even happier out of Ger- 
many than in it; Lord Carlingford, writing to Edward 
Lear from Balmoral in 1884, said, " I found the Queen 
remarkably well, better in body and mind than I have 
seen her for a long time, though anxious about public 
affairs. The lady-in-waiting is the widowed Duchess 



298 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of Roxburghe, whom I like. Princess Frederica of 
Hanover, and her husband Baron Pawell von Ram- 
mingen are here. He is a pleasing sort of man in 
an awkward position one of the servants informed 
a maid-of-honour that ' Mrs. Rummagen was come.' 
She is very tall, distinguished and charming." 

If Victoria shocked Prussia by mothering this 
romance, a little later she found opportunity to flout 
all the German ideals of caste which have ever 
existed, and she carried out her role of fairy god- 
mother with the same determined and complacent 
autocracy which she showed in neglecting some of her 
most important duties at home. Three more marriages 
she tried to arrange with morganatic bridegrooms on 
the one hand and one ducal and two royal princesses 
on the other. The bridegrooms were the Battenbergs. 

If English people think of the Battenbergs at all 
they still either wonder who on earth they were, or 
content themselves with saying wearily, " Germans, of 
course." They were Germans on their father's side, 
that father being Alexander of Hesse, uncle to the 
Grand Duke Louis. But their mother was a Pole, 
whose father, said to have been of humble origin, rose 
to be War Minister at Hesse-Darmstadt. Alexander 
was brother to the Empress of Alexander II, Czar of 
Russia, and he took service in the Russian army in 
1851. Before this he had met at the Court there 
Mademoiselle Haucke, a Polish maid-of-honour, and 
when he married her in 1851 the title of Princess 
Battenberg was given her by the Czar. Of this 
morganatic marriage at least five children were born, 



THE GERMAN INVASION 299 

four boys and a girl, the three eldest boys being Louis, 
Alexander and Henry, two of them becoming German 
officers. Being first cousins of the husband of Princess 
Alice, the Queen naturally knew them well, and as they 
were handsome young men without a penny piece 
among them, they appealed strongly to her sense of 
protectiveness. The eldest boy she invited to Eng- 
land, where at the age of fourteen he arrived, and 
being naturalized entered the British Navy. This is 
he who, wisely yielding to natural British distrust, in 
the autumn of 1914 gave up his position as First Sea 
Lord of the Admiralty. 

The second brother, Alexander, was made by the 
Tsar, in agreement with the other Powers, Prince 
of Bulgaria, but not being sufficiently subservient to 
his patron he fell into disgrace and had to give up 
his dignity, after which he wandered back to more 
western lands, his one ambition being to reoccupy his 
old position as a Prussian soldier. 

The third boy, Henry, educated in Thuringia, 
became a lieutenant in the Saxon Hussars, and in 
1882 a member of the Berlin "Garde du Corps." 

When her Majesty went abroad, which by this time 
was almost every year, she would generally see one 
or more of the Battenbergs. In 1871, when she was 
staying at the Villa Hohenlohe at Baden-Baden, 
among the guests was the mother, Princess Battenberg. 
This villa belonged to Victoria's half-sister, Feodore; 
and the Queen went there once again the following 
year as a guest, for Feodore died in the autumn of 
1872, after which her Majesty became owner of the 



property. Her continental holidays were spent in 
various places, Coburg occasionally attracting her. 
Baveno, on Lake Maggiore, was the chosen spot in 
1879, and there, though it rained nearly all the time, 
she passed her days in the beautiful garden; from 
there she went to Les Rosieres at Mentone, where, 
from her window, she could look down on a forest of 
orange and citron trees. 

In 1880 she went again to the Villa Hohenlohe, and 
thence to the castle at Darmstadt, where again she 
lived, her mind rilled with memories and regrets, in 
her dead daughter's rooms. 

While she was there two things happened. One 
was the engagement, made by Bismarck, between 
Prince William of Prussia and Augusta Victoria, 
daughter of Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonden- 
burg-Augustenburg, and granddaughter of Feodore. 
Bismarck's choice was governed by his hatred of the 
Crown Princess, her sharp intellect and her English 
leanings, which made him look around for the most 
German of German princesses, one who would never 
think of opposing his rule. Augusta Victoria was the 
embodiment of his ideal; domestic and economical by 
necessity, the child of a mother whose intelligence 
was far from strong, all her qualities were simply 
housewifely. The engagement being an accomplished 
fact, Bismarck caused articles and paragraphs to 
appear in all the papers praising the Princess for her 
German manners, her German appearance, her Ger- 
man ways, until the gilded youth of Berlin jokingly 
declared that her only use was to make sweets and 



THE GERMAN INVASION 301 

jam; to which Prince William replied, with pointed 
irony against his mother, that a wife who could make 
sweets was preferable to one who could discuss the 
Constitution. The second event was the birth of a 
romance between Princess Beatrice, the "permanent 
Princess," as some one called her, and Prince Henry 
of Battenberg. 

Princess Beatrice had for years been her mother's 
shadow; flower shows, bazaars, Highland servants' 
balls, secluded visits abroad, quiet existence at 
Osborne, Balmoral or Windsor, had made up the sum 
of her days ; all punctuated by dreary drives to tombs 
and mausoleums and accompanied by all the varying 
moods of her royal mother, who could be very cross 
at times ; she could, " for no reason, be arbitrary, 
contest a point and close the argument without further 
discussion " (Quarterly Review]. 

It is said that Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry 
became engaged secretly in 1881, but the secret was 
well kept, even from the Queen. 

In 1882 Victoria stayed at Mentone for a month; 
in 1883 she had intended visiting Darmstadt again, 
for she had arranged a marriage between her then 
favourite Battenberg, Louis, and her granddaughter, 
Victoria of Hesse, they being first cousins once 
removed. However, her health was in far too pre- 
carious a state, and her sprained knee made it impos- 
sible for her to move about, for it was nearly a year 
from her fall on the stairs before the Queen could 
walk, even with the aid of sticks. 

This Battenberg marriage caused more consterna- 



302 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

tion in Germany than did that of Frederica. The 
Emperor William actually forbade it; the Princess 
had her grandmother at her back, however, and a 
grandmother who was not likely to defer to the scruples 
of another monarch in such a matter. So keenly 
necessary did the Queen consider her presence to 
make the affair go off smoothly, that a few days after 
the funeral of Prince Leopold she went to Hesse- 
Darmstadt, where the wedding was held on April 26, 
1884, the two brothers, Alexander and Henry, being 
there. Three things happened at this visit : the first 
being the marked attentions shown by Alexander 
Battenberg to Princess Victoria of Prussia, daughter 
of the Crown Prince, which raised very ruffled feelings 
on the part of the Prussian royalties. 

Another event was the confession of the secret be- 
tween Henry and Princess Beatrice to Queen Victoria, 
which caused a great upheaval. It was one matter to 
allow one out of a multitude of granddaughters to 
marry a handsome young man without prospects, but 
quite another thing to approve of the same fate for 
the daughter of the most important royalty in the 
world. So the Princess went through a strenuous 
interval before her royal mother calmed down and 
considered the net advantages to herself of such a 
match. The more she considered the more solid she 
saw these advantages to be, and soon became as keen 
on it as was Princess Beatrice. 

The third event for a little time kept secret on 
being revealed produced a more terrible explosion 
than anything that had gone before. It was the 



THE GERMAN INVASION 303 

private marriage, on the very night of his daughter's 
wedding, of the Grand Duke Louis with Countess 
Kalomine, another nobody from the royal point of 
view. 

The old William of Prussia and Victoria joined 
hands over this!: the one from Imperial pride and the 
other from pride and sentiment, for the Queen re- 
garded a second marriage as something irreligious, 
if not actually blasphemous. The two monarchs 
worked so hard over the affair that in a few months 
the Supreme Court of Leipzig decided that Countess 
Kalomine was not legally the wife of Duke Louis, 
though it was said that justice and common sense were 
on the lady's side. It is curious to see that in all 
these cases the man who was a nobody from the royal 
point of view was eligible, but the woman who was 
not royal was a person to be scorned. It was Victoria's 
way. 

The engagement of Princess Beatrice was not 
publicly announced until the end of November, when 
it created a stir in England, public opinion being 
intensely against it. People reasoned that here was 
another German, a lieutenant in the Prussian army 
with pay of about 70 a year, who would have to be 
supported by them and there were already too many 
such. 

Henry's elder brother Louis had become a com- 
mander in the navy, raised over the heads of English 
officers ; Prince Christian, comfortably settled with a 
good income in a comfortable house in Windsor Park, 
had no need to seek for a sinecure, or a position 



304 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

with emolument; Count Gleichen was Constable of 
Windsor Castle and an admiral of the British Fleet; 
Prince Edward of Saxe- Weimar was moved from the 
Government House at Portsmouth and given the com- 
mand of the Forces in Ireland early in 1885, a post 
which should have been bestowed upon an English 
soldier; Prince Leiningen, commander of the Queen's 
yacht, was* made vice-admiral; Princess Frederica 
and her husband were always with us; Prince Teck 
was raising comment at the time through alleged 
extravagance, a sale of " surplus " furniture having 
been effected at Kensington Palace. 

Really the most loyal had some cause for com- 
plaint at this German invasion; but Victoria did not 
mind, and calmly went on dealing out posts and 
honours in the face of all grumblers. She could not 
understand that her people were a power with which 
the sovereign should deal, but went straight over all 
their susceptibilities and prejudices, never failing to 
make a demand when she needed their money. What 
is the use of being a queen if you cannot do as you 
like? The Prince of Wales had a far finer sense of 
delicacy ; that is to say, the somewhat brutal Georgian 
characteristics were in him modified by generosity and 
perception. His eldest boy came of age in January 
1885, but though he himself was deeply in debt, and 
had an income which, large as it was, did not do all 
that was required of it, he asked no settlement for 
his son. His horror at the inevitable Radical com- 
ments made him decide to leave the field open to his 
sister Beatrice. On her account the Queen made the 



THE GERMAN INVASION 305 

usual demands a dowry of 30,000 and 6000 a year 
and the weary Commons, seeing at last a temporary 
end of royal marriages in sight, gave, after the usual 
strong protests, and with thirty-eight dissentients, their 
assent. 

If Germany was astonished at the Frederica mar- 
riage and affronted at that of the Louis Battenberg's, 
it was in a state of stupefaction over the Henry 
Battenberg alliance. Even the Princess Royal could 
not be reconciled to it, and as usual said what she 
thought. The Prince of Wales also did his utmost 
to oppose it, and altogether discord was rampant in 
the royal family. This was shown in the first week 
of January 1885, when the Queen and the permanent 
Princess absented themselves from the great coming- 
of-age celebrations at Sandringham. Prince Henry, 
who was in England in December, left our shores 
without receiving the congratulations either of the 
Prince of Wales or the Duke of Edinburgh. It is 
easy to imagine the disgust of the Duchess of Edin- 
burgh, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, over so 
unpretending a bridegroom. 

Even Ernst of Saxe-Coburg ranged himself against 
the Queen and refused to be present at the wedding, 
which wedding, however, was really of supreme im- 
portance only to the chief persons concerned. Prince 
Henry was constantly coming over to England, and 
the lovers had opportunities of meeting when in April 
Victoria went first to Aix-les-Bains and then to Darm- 
stadt, where a great-grandchild, daughter of the Louis 
Battenbergs, was christened. 



306 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The Queen was at this time, 1885, not quite sixty- 
eight years of age, but she dressed like a very old 
woman, and it was quite common for people to think 
of her as aged. The following paragraph from an 
unidentifiable newspaper cutting gives an interesting 
picture of her as she appeared just before going 
abroad 

" Here comes the Queen ! The cry is raised far off, 
and at a rapid rate on comes the imposing cavalcade, 
through loud buzzing of the multitude of lips, ' The 
Queen ! The Queen ! ' As usual there is a small 
military escort, cavalry with drawn swords and others. 
Then come the outriders, jockeys on horseback, riding 
rapidly and clad in the deepest mourning livery. The 
Queen's carriage is drawn by four splendid horses 
conducted by a postilion mounted on one of them. 
Two Highlanders now occupy the seat once so proudly 
held by John Brown, one of them being his brother 
George, who is now with the Queen. At sight of the 
aged sovereign every hat is raised. The great lady 
shows the years of sorrow. Her hair is white and 
her face careworn. She is dressed in the very deepest 
mourning, with heavy crepe veil and the widow's cap. 
Beside her sits Princess Beatrice, clad in what is called 
half-mourning, with a purple velvet bonnet, and a 
mantle embroidered with the same colour. On the 
front seat of the carriage is Prince Henry of Batten- 
berg, the Princess's affianced husband. He is a fine- 
looking man, with what I should call features rather 
square cut. One can well understand the rumour that 
on both sides this may be a love match." 



THE GERMAN INVASION 307 

During that short stay in London the little party 
went to the Botanical Gardens, and coming away the 
off-leader took fright, plunged and kicked, and only 
with great difficulty was got under control. The lead- 
ing pair had to be detached, and the Queen drove away 
with only two horses. 

By July, when the wedding took place at Osborne, 
most of the quarrels had at least been smoothed over ; 
the Prince of Wales gave away the bride, the Princess 
of Wales supported the Queen at the ceremony in 
Whippingham Church. Prince Louis of Hesse, white- 
washed by this time, was of necessity present, but there 
was no representative at all from Prussia, and the 
daughters of the Crown Princess did not join the 
bridesmaids as did the young Princesses of Wales. 
Gladstone was carefully omitted from the invitation 
list. 

Directly after the marriage Henry of Battenberg 
was created a royal prince by the Queen, which 
completed the consternation among her Prussian 
cousins, who decided that her Majesty was insulting 
them, and all foreign Courts refused to recognize the 
title, which, however, gave him in England precedence 
over the husband of Princess Louise, the Marquis of 
Lome, never too well treated by the family into which 
he had married. 

Victoria further bestowed upon her new son-in-law 
the Order of the Garter, a bestowal which entailed an 
outlay of about 500, which she intended to defray, 
but when it came to the point she thought it better to 
let the privilege devolve upon her faithful subjects. 



308 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The German comments upon this new Royal 
Highness aroused her defiance, and she looked 
round to see how she could further prove her power 
in the making of princes. Count Gleichen, another 
son of her sister Feodore, had in 1861 married a 
daughter of Sir George Seymour, and this being a 
morganatic marriage he had renounced his rank as 
Prince Victor Hohenlohe, taking instead a minor 
title of his father's. The Queen commanded him to 
resume his original title, but of course the German 
relatives refused to recognize this, though Prince 
Victor's children are cousins to the present German 
Empress. 

Early in August Prince Henry's parents, Alexander 
of Hesse and Princess Battenberg, were guests at 
Windsor, and then the royal party went northwards, 
as the bridal pair were to live with the Queen. Prince 
Henry was very obedient in those days, for he, and 
with him Louis of Hesse, wore kilts and sporrans on 
the journey, and he had to wear these breezy garments 
for three months, until chill November nearing its end 
he was permitted to return to town with his wife and 
mamma-in-law. 

The Queen did not often let things be done in Scot- 
land in a half-hearted way. All the male servants and 
relatives had to don the kilt, the change of costume 
having to be made en route in the train. Her love for 
the Stuarts made her choose the Royal Stuart tartan 
plaid as the dominant adornment of Balmoral. Thus 
all the carpets were made of it, and much of the 
furniture covered with it, while the thistle was 



THE GERMAN INVASION 809 

embroidered on her chairs, and her favourite dinner 
service was bordered with tartan. It must have been 
hideously depressing, but she loved it. One of her 
most cherished possessions was a little pin-cushion on 
tartan wooden mounts with a portrait of the Prince 
on one side, and this was said to be always on her 
dressing-table. This reminds me of an assertion I 
have seen somewhere that on her breakfast-table every 
Sunday, and only on Sunday, two little silver salt- 
cellars were always laid, which had been given her 
by John Brown. When in the north she chose Scot- 
tish doctors, and it is on record that one newly 
appointed medical professor announced the honour to 
his class by writing on the blackboard that he had 
been made physician to the Queen. When later in 
the day he looked at the board again some wag had 
added " God save the Queen." 

Once Victoria asked a crowd to Balmoral. It was 
in 1885, when the British Association met at Aberdeen 
under the presidency of Lyon Playfair, and she first 
invited him and Lord Rayleigh, the Montreal presi- 
dent, to dine and sleep, the chief point of conversation 
mentioned being her description of the Prince Con- 
sort's interest in science. This meeting probably 
suggested an invitation to all the members, and the 
newspapers supplied details not mentioned in the 
Memoirs of Sir Lyon Play fair, by Wemyss Reid. The 
British Association arrived there, but found that both 
the Queen and Princess Beatrice had arranged a day's 
excursion for themselves which would keep them away 
as long as the visitors were near the castle ; and prob- 



310 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ably the former never knew that it was said that the 
accommodation was defective and the luncheon-table 
somewhat meagre. A very different reception from 
that accorded to the British Association by the Queen 
and Prince Albert in 1859. 



CHAPTER XIX 

" SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED " 

" Here are women doting wives and loving mothers quitting 
the serene and holy circle of their own hearths, relinquishing for 
an appointed term the happiness and tenderness of home, to 
endure a glorifying servitude beneath the golden yoke of 
ceremony." Douglas Jerrold on Court Ladies. 

"Then comes the list of the General Committee (of the 
London National Society for Woman's Suffrage). We see the 
names of Mrs. Somerville, Miss Nightingale, Miss Frances 
Cobb, Miss Martineau, Mrs. Grote, Miss Hosmer, Madame 
Bodichon, and we greet the owners with a loving smile, and 
congratulate them on fellowship with Charles Kingsley, Edwin 
Arnold, Grote, Masson, F. Palgrave, Lyon Playfair, Huxley, 
Lord Romilly, F. W. Newman and Mill." ' Punch,' June 1868. 

THOUGH Victoria was especially keen upon bestow- 
ing honours on her connections when Prince George 
of Wales received the Garter in 1885 he made the 
twenty-eighth royal knight of the Order, as against 
six in 1837 sne sometimes thought of humbler folk. 
Under Disraeli's advice she had offered Tennyson a 
Baronetcy and Carlyle the Grand Cross of the Order 
of the Bath, but both were refused. In 1883 Tennyson 
was offered a Barony and Gladstone urged him to 
accept it, telling a friend that the only thing he felt 
dubious about was whether Tennyson would insist 
upon wearing his extraordinary hat, his unfailing 

companion, in the House of Lords. Tennyson was 

3" 



312 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

not eager to take the new rank, but eventually 
accepted it. 

Arthur Helps and Theodore Martin, two of Vic- 
toria's most faithful friends, had been knighted and 
invested with the Order of the Bath; and for her 
magnificent charity Miss Burdett Coutts was made a 
peeress in 1871, upon which Punch declared that her 
old title of Lady Bountiful could never be forgotten. 
Ten years later the Baroness married William Ash- 
mead-Bartlett, she being then sixty-seven and he a 
young man. It was a remarkable marriage, an accen- 
tuation of that of Disraeli and contracted for the same 
motive, that an ambitious young man might be helped 
to his desires ; but it might have passed without great 
comment had not her Majesty made so strong a protest 
against it and, when the Baroness persisted in her 
plans, virtually intimated that she must consider 
herself in permanent disgrace. 

The Queen's ideal of womanhood was entirely 
Germanic; that is to say, it was something less than 
reality and very much less than ideal. She was fond 
of talking of her " poor, feeble sex " and of " female 
brains being overtaxed," repeating and thoroughly 
believing all the nonsense inculcated by Stockmar and 
Prince Albert; and this explains the constant pity 
she expressed for herself, " a poor, weak woman " who 
had to overtax her brains doing man's work. 

A clever woman she always avoided; it is doubtful 
whether she thought such a one quite proper, her 
conviction being that a woman's interests should be 
limited to births, marriages and deaths, or, to put the 



'SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED' 313 

sentiment in other words, to children, cooking and 
church. Other subjects should be left to the stronger 
intellect of men, to whom women should defer even 
in the veriest trifle. Through her widowhood more 
than in her married life Queen Victoria lived up to 
this idea. Her politics " I hate politics," she once 

tsaid to Tennyson were based upon those of the 
Prince Consort; her foreign policy was, as nearly as 
she could make it so, an expression of the views he 
had held a quarter of a century before; her habits 
were still those once encouraged by him. She never 
bought new clothes without consulting her memory 
of his tastes, and there were many around her who 
wished that she could be induced to wear something 
less dowdy and commonplace than the garments so 
inspired. She once told Theodore Martin that 

"He would not have allowed me or any of our 
daughters to appear in any dress or coiffure or bonnet 
not becoming or proper, and he would have made us 
take it off. I never bought a dress or bonnet without 
consulting him, and his taste was always good. I 
remember so well when my French coiffeur came from 
Paris every year and brought over things which were 
tried on, the Prince has come in and said, ' That you 

I shall not wear.' ' 
It all went back to the same thing, this struggle 
against her principles to do intellectual work, this 
plain dressing, this subservience to a man's will : all 
meant that to her the man should command the 
woman's obedience. That being so, it is not to be 
wondered at that such an idea as Woman's Franchise 



314 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

upset her. The following is from a letter of hers 
on the subject, again to Theodore Martin 

'* The Queen is most anxious to enlist every one 
who can speak or write to join in checking this 
mad, wicked folly of 'Woman's Rights/ with all its 
attendant horrors, on which her poor, feeble sex is 
bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and 
propriety. Lady [Harberton?] ought to get a good 
whipping. It is a subject which makes the Queen 
so furious that she cannot contain herself. God 
created man and woman different then let them 
remain each in their own position. Tennyson has 
some beautiful lines on the difference of men and 
women in The Princess. Woman would become the 
most hateful, heartless and disgusting of human beings 
were she allowed to unsex herself, and where would 
be the protection which man was intended to give the 
weaker sex ? " 

I have always enjoyed this letter. It is practically 
the basis upon which the " antis " have founded their 
arguments or want of arguments : " God created man 
and woman different." That suggests so many ques- 
tions to the inquiring mind. Is God really interested 
in the merits of skirts over bloomers, in twaddle about 
dress, over squabbles about politics, in the brainless 
woman over the thoughtful one, in the idle over the 
self-supporting woman? But across the lighter feel- 
ing that this letter raises comes one of disgust that 
the Queen's respect for her own sex was so small as 
to allow her to suggest indignity for one with whom 
she disagreed. 



4 SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED' 815 

This belittling of women was not confined to Queen 
Victoria. For many years the Annual Register was 
edited by two ladies, the sisters of Herman Merivale, 
whose ill-health devolved the work upon them. Their 
account of the Franco-Prussian war was so admirable 
that another publisher wished to issue it as a separate 
volume. However, on finding that the authors were 
women he decided that republication was out of the 
question, as it was not considered proper that women 
should be entrusted with such high work. 

On this subject Victoria should have liked Glad- 
stone, for he agreed with her on the Suffrage; but 
Disraeli, when appealed to before his last Govern- 
ment, gave Miss Frances Power Cobb authority to 
announce that he should vote for the measure. " Mr. 
Gladstone, however, has declared that he will oppose 
it; and the Government opposition will be fatal to us. 
Let him be known as William the Woman-hater." So 
said Miss Cobb to the meeting she had called; and 
Gladstone had the intellectual women against him 
everywhere. 

But, as has been said, the Queen did not like Glad- 
stone, and more, she did not like Mrs. Gladstone, 
who was far too able a woman to please her taste. 
The Gladstones on rare occasions went to dine and 
sleep at Windsor, and one reads of Mrs. Gladstone 
invited to lunch there and taking it with those whom 
W. H. Brookfield facetiously called the servants, the 
ladies-in-waiting and the grooms of the chamber, etc., 
and then having five minutes' conversation with her 
Majesty, probably both being very glad when the 



316 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

restrained and chilly meeting was over. On one 
occasion the Prime Minister had some adventure in 
a fog, in which a horse tried to go upstairs, which was 
too good a story not to be repeated everywhere. Being 
commanded to dine and sleep at Windsor, a lady in 
the train discussed with him the fog, the horse and 
the staircase at length; others did the same on the 
way. At the castle Sir Henry Ponsonby was the first 
to allude to it, then came Sir John Cowell, Master of 
the Household. To all Gladstone gave the same 
reply : " I assure you it was much exaggerated." After 
dinner, in the corridor, her Majesty came to speak to 
him, saying, "We have had dreadful weather lately, 
and you must have had a bad experience the other 
night." " Oh, ma'am, I assure you too much has been 
made of it," was his answer. And some one remarked 
what a solecism it was that a man of Gladstone's age 
and eminence should go to Windsor dress-coat and 
pantaloons stay the night, and all the talk he had 
with his sovereign was a word or two about the fog. 

The Queen's feelings on femininity were not con- 
fined to the question of the vote ; she further expressed 
it to Lord Herschell after Tennyson's death, when he 
was commanded to a dine-and-sleep visit. Miss Jean 
Ingelow, a pleasant but mediocre poet, was spoken of 
at the royal table, the Queen turning to Herschell and 
saying 

" I have had Miss Ingelow's claim to the Laureate- 
ship put before me, and I admire her poetry extremely, 
but I do not consider that a woman can properly fill 
the post of Poet Laureate." 



4 SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED' 317 

Herschell bowed acquiescence and did not utter 
his thoughts, which were that "if one woman can fill 
the post of Queen of England and Empress of India, 
another might be trusted to write a royal ode now and 
then." * 

But though Victoria could not stand a clever woman, 
she also did not like a socially stupid one, being very 
impatient of dulness. If some one praised a lady as 
good and kind, the answer might be 

'Yes, but I've no patience with her; she is so 
stupid." 

This did not mean that she was drawing compari- 
sons between her own powers and those of the other, 
but that there must be no stupidity in relation to 
herself and her affairs; it might clog the wheels upon 
which the State ran. 

Even for intellectual men she had no affinity. That 
authors were doing a good work she realized, but it 
did not touch her life or interests, and so she left all 
such out in the cold. She made a friend of Tennyson 
because some sentiments in his incomparable In 
Memonam seemed to fit her case, and she once 
arranged a meeting with Carlyle, Browning, Grote, 
Dickens and Lyell at the house of Lady Augusta 
Stanley. This was the exception which proved the 
rule very sharply, though her flatterers have used it 
as a proof that she was deeply interested in literature. 

To Browning, who had just published The Book 
and the Ring, she said, " Have you been writing 
anything lately?" As she continued to stand all the 

1 Some Memories of Victorian London. By L. B. Walford. 



318 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

visitors stood also, and Carlyle was both old and frail. 
He was talking with her Majesty, "launching forth 
his great, rolling periods as only he can," until the 
pain in his back was almost unendurable. " We who 
knew the Queen so well were delighted to see the 
pleasure that her Majesty was receiving from the con- 
versation, but I must own both the dean and I were 
apprehensive for her aged subject," said Lady Augusta 
in telling the story. At last the Sage of Chelsea took 
the matter into his own hands. Seizing a chair, he 
said 

" If your Majesty would please to be seated we 
could carry on the subject with greater ease." 

Her Majesty took a chair, still talking, and Carlyle 
was happy for the rest of the meeting, but Victoria 
was not quite so pleased. The old man declared 
afterwards that it was " impossible to imagine a politer 
little woman; nothing the least imperious; all gentle, 
all sincere . . . makes you feel, too, if you have any 
sense in you, that she is a queen." 

Victoria said of him that he was gruff-tempered, 
if not unmannerly. She could not quite forgive the 
liberty he had taken. 

This importance of being allowed to sit in the 
Queen's presence reminds me of another story given 
in a magazine article, and somewhat resembling the 
Carlyle episode. The Queen, the Empress Frederick 
and fifteen other royalties when at Sandringham deter- 
mined to pay what was somewhat loosely regarded 
as a surprise visit to a neighbouring vicar. Two men- 
servants were thoughtfully sent in advance with cakes 



'SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED' 319 

and delicacies to lay the tables for tea. The hostess, 
as was the custom a few years ago, poured out tea 
for this regal crowd, and, as may be imagined, was 
kept hard at work. That task over, she was not asked 
to sit down in her own drawing-room, and so stood 
for a long period, until a princess implored her mother 
to ask their hostess to take a seat, when the permis- 
sion was most graciously given. Let us hope that this 
example of discourtesy is not true, for if it were what 
a condemnation it offers of the ways of the Court then. 
How could any writer use such a word as graciously 
over such a rudely delayed invitation ? 

But to return to the Queen's views upon her sex. 
They were perfectly sincere, for she had been 
inoculated with such ideas by one whom she thought 
infallible, but they had their inevitable consequence. 
A man might sin, yet kiss her Majesty's hand, but 
should the merest suspicion fall upon a woman she 
at once became ostracized. Never until Victoria's 
time was this distinction so bitterly marked, and it 
was the result, not of a high ideal of morals, but of a 
low ideal of womanhood. And this gives the strongest 
reason for the unpopularity of the late Queen among 
intellectual women. No woman likes or trusts that 
woman who regards her own sex meanly. It seems 
to me, however, that Victoria's attitude in making this 
great difference between men and women has had 
one good result, in that it has so shocked and incensed 
women that they in their turn tend to demand from 
men the cleanness that has been demanded from them. 
For, whatever we may say or think of the Court, no 



320 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

one can doubt that it does influence what may be 
termed the fashion in morals of the nation. Albert 
and Victoria set themselves to impress on the people 
a new ideal of domestic life, and they succeeded to 
a great extent, at least they went half-way to success. 
Our present royalties do not talk about such aims, 
for the habit is made, but their influence is quite as 
strong. 

Nothing could have persuaded Victoria that God 
had given women brains to use just as He had given 
them to men. She would have answered as before, 
" God made man and woman different," and have felt 
that there was no appeal against the way in which 
she translated the words; and she would have also 
felt in this as in other things that the fact that she 
was queen rendered it even more impossible that she 
could be mistaken, her reverence for the royal position 
being as deep as her belief in her own Tightness. 

This was shown on the publication of the first part 
of Charles Greville's diaries in 1874, which caused 
her much annoyance. Greville had been Clerk to the 
Privy Council, and his journals dealt, not with the 
Council, but with the public events and politics of 
his period, including much criticism of royalties and 
well-known people. He died in 1864, leaving these 
diaries to his friend Henry Reeve to edit and publish. 
Reeve allowed ten years to elapse and then issued 
the first three volumes, which ended with the death 
of William IV. Eleven days after the publication of 
the work the Queen sent Reeve, who believed that 
she had not really read the book, but only newspaper 






'SHE OUGHT TO BE WHIPPED' 321 

extracts, a message by Sir Arthur Helps expressing 
her disapproval. She found three causes for com- 
plaint : that the book was disparaging to her family ; 
that it tended to weaken the Monarchy; that it pro- 
ceeded from official persons. Reeve begged Helps 
to reply, with his humble duty, that the book showed 
that if Monarchy had really been endangered it was 
by the depravity of George IV and the absurdities of 
William IV, but that under her Majesty's reign it had 
been stronger than ever; an explanation probably 
quite as annoying to her as the book had been. She 
never forgave it, and though Reeve was entitled to 
the K.C.B. for his long service as Clerk of Appeals 
to the Privy Councils, he never received the honour. 

Reeve called upon the old Duchess of Cambridge 
one day, and found her much interested in the book, 
which was being read to her, she frequently adding 
further amusing recollections. 

The second series of these memoirs was published 
in 1885, and the third series two years later. Reeve 
sent copies to Sir Henry Ponsonby, who laid them 
before the Queen, but she made no further sign. 

Queen Victoria had no more interest in art and 

ists than she had in literature and authors; as the 
$e||vriter of the article in The Quarterly Review says, she 
even "took the right kind of interest in the 
utiful objects she possessed in her palaces, and it 
3 mere courtly complaisance to pretend that she did." 
here were two or three German artists, such as 
Vmterhalter and von Angeli, to whose work she was 

customed, and that their portraits were bad she never 



322 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

could see. On being urged to sit to G. F. Watts, 
who would produce a splendid portrait, she replied, 
" Perhaps so, but I'm afraid it would be ugly." 

Disraeli, however, had hanging in his dining-room 
a half-length copy of one of von Angeli's portraits 
of her, which she had presented to him, and which, 
as Lord Ronald Gower says, was a standing proof 
of her utter want of vanity, for it was almost a 
caricature. 

Frankly, the Queen did not care for art, though 
she was always making little sketches, and though the 
Marquis de Foulon, a courtier as well as a Frenchman, 
who had taught her drawing in her girlhood, told her 
that, had she not been born to wear a crown, she would 
have made one of the best " female " artists of the 
age! 

That her Majesty wielded the pen everybody knows, 
but not so many will remember the issue, about twenty 
years ago, of a terrible book, "published with the 
gracious permission and approval of " the Queen, and 
named Her Majesty's Dolls. No one with any artistic 
understanding could have allowed this to appear, but 
Mr. Harry Furniss, in his volume Harry Furniss <& 
Home, puts the responsibility on other shoulders when 
he says : " The Queen's Dolls compliments the public 
by playing down to its limited understanding of art 
matters." Probably he was right, for the public, in 
spite of its occasional spasms of republicanism, is the 
essence of snobbery in matters royal. 



CHAPTER XX 

GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS ! 

"Oh, cry of Tory, cry of Rad, 

I hear you ere your time ; 
The Tory shout is faint and sad, 

And suits an artless rhyme. 
Old England's honour long is dead, 

Her wealth is like to die; 
The gilt is off the gingerbread, 

The bloom is off the rye. 

To Radicals Trevelyan gave 

An eligible shout; 
Their funny banners wild they wave, 

And shriek and strut about; 
And still they clamour, 'midst applause, 

From stump and brake and van, 
We're fighting for the same old cause, 

And for the same old man." Punch. 

" Sackery-down, the Ministers frown, 
The Queen is again so far from town ; 
She summons them up, she summons them down, 
Because she won't travel to London town." 

Contemporary Verse. 

THE year 1884 had been an arduous one for her 
Majesty's Government, for as the demands for reform 
rose, so did the opposition to reform strengthen; as 
Irish discontent grew more bitter, so the more violent 
[became its actions, and as violence begets violence, 
' the determination to increase coercion grew more 
icrgetic. 

Lord Salisbury was the head of the Opposition, and 

323 



324 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Lord Randolph Churchill had inspired a small but 
noisy party with his own views. It was under his 
clever initiative that the epidemic of "slumming" 
spread among the aristocracy, and ladies made a 
fashion of studying the most sordid aspects of London. 
Most of it was of no use, but after the first resentment 
the East-Enders grew to tolerate and then to like some 
of the efforts put forth to amuse and help them, 
and at least it proved that great ladies thought they 
looked upon them as human. Many of us remember 
the constant conjunction of the words "classes" and 
"masses." Even the Queen was drawn to the East 
End to open the People's Palace, and at least the 
movement gave a fillip to the Conservatives by impress- 
ing upon the poor that they had friends in that party. 

The Bill for extending the County Franchise, which 
passed by a majority of one hundred and forty, was 
thrown out by the Lords, and Lord Salisbury incon- 
sequently demanded that Parliament should be dis- 
solved. Gladstone declared privately that if it did 
dissolve it should be upon organic change in the House 
of Lords, and there gradually arose much the same 
position as that which had obtained between the two 
Houses over the Irish Church Bill, and once again 
Victoria, half convinced that the reform was necessary, 
set herself to bridge the gulf between the Lords 
and the Commons, through Sir Henry Ponsonby, who 
was an unacknowledged statesman of a high order. 
Eventually Gladstone wrote " to tender his grateful 
thanks to your Majesty for the wise, gracious and 
steady influence on your Majesty's part, which has so 






GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 325 

powerfully contributed to bring about this accomplish- 
ment and to avert a serious crisis." To which the 
Queen replied, " I gladly and thankfully return your 
telegrams. To be able to be of use is all I care to 
live for now." So they were both happy, and Ponsonby 
had the usual reward of virtue, which of course was 
not publicly mentioned. 

Through all this the Sudan trouble continued, and 
this year General Stewart won, though with heavy 
loss, a victory over the Mahdi. The definite intention 
was to abandon the Sudan, but from one cause and 
another the evacuation had to be postponed. Some 
people, following the Queen, blame Gladstone for 
even dreaming of evacuation, but much money and 
many lives were already being thrown away to keep this 
possession for the Turks, who were not strong enough 
to keep it for themselves. When Lord Salisbury came 
into office, and until 1896, he resolutely resisted every 
attempt to make him change the policy laid down by 
Gladstone there. For he knew that it would have 
been suicidal to withdraw troops from India, where 
frontier wars were constantly occurring and a chronic 
state of unrest existed, to attempt the conquest of a 
country of such doubtful utility as the Sudan. When 
matters were ripe for action, however, he was prompt 
to take it. 

A further difficulty for the Government was Ireland. 

' There lay Ireland squalid, dismal, sullen, dull, 

expectant, sunk deep in hostile intent," says Lord 

Morley; a difficulty with which, as has been said, I 

cannot deal, and the answer to which has not yet 



326 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

received the royal seal. Parnell had in 1885 found 
one key to the situation when he said that it would 
be for the Irish people in England and for the Irish 
members to decide at the next election whether a Tory 
or a Liberal Ministry should rule in England. 

Gladstone wanted to give a measure of local govern- 
ment to our sister isle, but this was vetoed by members 
from both sides, and Lord Salisbury determined to 
placate Parnell by dropping Coercion, the two events 
in close conjunction being something of a satire on 
party politics. Every indication went to show that the 
Liberal Government was at the end of its resources. 
The Cabinet was in a constant state of division and 
resignation. All but three or four members separately 
tendered resignation, and some more than once. One 
Cabinet was said to have sat for four and a half hours 
debating whether they should resign, and Gladstone's 
casting vote then negatived it. At one time too, all 
the peers in the Cabinet voted one way and all the 
commoners another. 

The Irish complicated affairs by dropping bombs 
about. At the end of January 1885 there was an 
effective explosion at the House of Commons, in which 
all the windows of Westminster Hall were blown out, 
a hole made at the top of the crypt below the steps 
in the great hall, the statues in the lobby hurled 
'down, the gallery of the Commons shattered, the 
Speaker's chair ruined, and beams and glass shed all 
over the place the destruction amounting to a police- 
man's life and 70,000. In May occurred explosions 
in St. James's Square and Scotland Yard, and an 



GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 327 

unsuccessful attempt was made at the base of the 
Nelson Monument ; while there was a further one near 
St. Thomas's Tower at the Tower of London, in which 
children were wounded. 

Every one knew that a parliamentary change was 
at hand, and it came about nominally through a vote 
on duties upon spirits and beer, but not on wine, in 
the Budget discussion, actually through an alliance 
between the Tories and the Irish. The motion which 
produced it was made by Sir Michael Hicks Beach, 
under Lord Salisbury's direction, though Gladstone 
warned them that if it were carried it would mean the 
resignation of the Government. 

This was in June, and ended what was one of the 
most anxious half years experienced in Parliament. 

It was in this 1880-1885 Ministry that George 
Glyn (second Lord Wolverton) had a place. Of him 
it was said that he had a canine fidelity to Gladstone, 
so that he would at critical moments be anxiously 
watched, his face being a clue to what was happening. 
After one division some one said cheerfully, " Oh, 
it's all right, George Glyn has gone up to Gladstone 
wagging his tail." Glyn died in 1887, and the rumour 
went that he had left Gladstone 100,000, but the 
rumour was without justification, for Gladstone did not 
benefit at all under his friend's will. 

Victoria had just attained her sixty-eighth birthday. 
She was getting old and could not alter ideas which 
had guided her for nearly a quarter of a century. She 
had followed her own sweet will all through, and 
intended still to do so, and probably never had she 



328 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

been so much away from the centre of affairs as she 
was this year. 

Let us follow her movements. At Christmas she 
was at Osborne, and had not left when the news 
arrived in February 1885 of the fall of Khartoum. 
Her feelings were then too bitter for her to contemplate 
Windsor, and she stayed on, making illness the excuse. 
When she felt anything keenly her nerves and general 
health would become affected, and the short journey 
across the Solent, though at a respectably reduced 
speed, tried her always after the tragic Mistletoe 
affair. 

On March 18 she was in London, holding a Draw- 
ing-room, the first held by her since the early part of 
1883; early in April she went to Aix-les-Bains and 
Darmstadt for a month, leaving urgent instructions 
with her Prime Minister that she should be constantly 
informed by telegraph of all important proceedings, 
and especially in reference to Egypt and the Sudan. 
This considerably added to the labours of men who 
were doing their best to govern her kingdom, and 
retarded events through loss of time in getting her 
replies. 

In May she returned and held two more Drawing- 
rooms, and on the 2ist of that month, when parlia- 
mentary affairs were in danger every day of collaps- 
ing, she started for Balmoral. An urgent request for 
a short delay, if only for a day or two, was refused, 
and before she had been many hours gone a special 
messenger had to follow her. She passed through 
England as usual in strict seclusion, the station plat- 









GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 329 

forms being kept empty while her train ran through. 
At Perth a crowd was allowed to approach. It was 
the usual thing, and a very small thing, but it made 
people angry. At Balmoral, after paying an early 
visit to John Brown's grave, she lived her usual out- 
door, restful life. 

The defeat of the Government came on June 8, 
1885, the news being received by her the next morn- 
ing. There are various accounts as to how her 
Majesty took it. Sir Sidney Lee says that it was with 
"incalculable elation." On the other hand, she was 
considerably annoyed that it should have happened 
while she was at Balmoral, for she did not like any 
mental disturbance when on a holiday; therefore she 
made no effort to meet the situation, but carried out 
her plan of taking a long drive to Braemar, Glen 
Clunie and other places, returning to the castle late 
in the evening, expecting to hear that Gladstone had 
telegraphed an intention of being with her the next 
day. He, then seventy-six and feeling that his work 
was done, had decided against such a journey. The 
Queen was obliged to write to him on the loth, when 
she declared her surprise that he should have made 
his defeat a vital question, and asked whether his 
Cabinet would not go on if Lord Salisbury refused 
to form a Government, which did not exactly look like 
" incalculable elation." She did not want Gladstone, 
and she did want Salisbury, but it seemed as though 
she wanted least of all to let a matter of national 
importance interfere with her holiday. Such an atti- 
tude could not escape comment, and there were many 



330 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

public protests against her causing a ministerial crisis 
to last for weeks, when a few hours ought to have 
settled it. For one who protested so much that she 
was always thinking of and working for the good of 
her kingdom it was remarkable. 

She was, however, extremely angry that Gladstone 
had not at once gone to her, and plainly told him so ; 
showing little consideration or mercy for an old man 
who had for four months been working at high tension. 
He replied in effect that he was near the end of his 
life, that his ideas were probably coloured by the short- 
ness of the future left him, and that he thought Lord 
Hartington, a younger man, " would be more useful in 
conversation with her Majesty." So Hartington pre- 
pared to go to Balmoral, but the Queen countermanded 
this, accepted the resignations, and summoned Lord 
Salisbury to the Highlands. 

Now that Lord Salisbury was face to face with the 
situation he, as Disraeli, did not like it; he would 
have to depend upon coalition with the Irish, and 
however welcome they were in defeating the Govern- 
ment they might be dangerous as coadjutors, so he 
recommended that Gladstone should be invited to re- 
consider his decision. This the latter refused to do. 
Lord Salisbury had led the great quarrel over reform 
between the Lords and the Commons; under his 
opposition had been engineered a most determined 
system of obstruction, and he had done his utmost to 
defeat the Government on its Budget. " If an Opposi- 
tion defeat a Government, they must be prepared to 
accept responsibility for their action," said Gladstone 



GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 331 

to the Queen. Then Salisbury demanded promises 
of support as to finance, time and other matters, and 
Gladstone again refused it was on finance that Salis- 
bury had eagerly overthrown him ! 

The interregnum continued, for though Gladstone 
told the Queen that there would be no attempt to 
embarrass the new ministers, Salisbury was still afraid 
of taking office, and it is not surprising, as, Irish uncer- 
tainties aside, he would have a majority against him, 
and also as Irish affairs were causing acute difficulties 
in his own party. " The Queen was most gracious and 
I thought most reasonable," said Gladstone, after an 
interview on June 18, her Majesty having returned to 
Windsor the day before. On the 2oth Ponsonby was 
with Gladstone again, on the 22nd he paid him no less 
than six visits; on the 23rd the Queen impressed upon 
Salisbury that he might reasonably accept Gladstone's 
assurances, and urged her earnest desire to bring the 
crisis to an end. So after sixteen days in the doldrums 
the ship of State was again in motion under what came 
to be known as the Stop-Gap Government, for a 
dissolution was fixed for November. 

All being ended, the Queen wrote a perfectly charm- 
ing letter to Gladstone, again offering him a peerage. 
" She wishes to offer him an earldom, as a mark of her 
recognition of his long and distinguished services, and 
she believes and thinks he would thereby be enabled 
still to render great service to his sovereign and 
country." 

Gladstone said that the letter moved and almost 
upset him. " It must have cost her much to write, and 



332 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

it is really a pearl of great price." As every one knows 
he did not accept the proffered honour which would 
have crippled his work. 

The Queen now turned her thoughts to Osborne, 
going there after the settlement, and being engrossed 
in Princess Beatrice's wedding. She came thence to 
Windsor in August to entertain Duke Alexander and 
his wife Princess Battenberg. On the 24th of that 
month she started for Balmoral, and remained there 
until November 17, and a month later went again 
to Osborne. 

Now this is the amount of time spent by the English 
Queen in her castle twenty miles from London : 
March and a few days of April, two weeks in May, 
two weeks in June, two weeks in August, and one 
month near the end of the year, between three and 
four months altogether, of which about four days had 
been spent in Buckingham Palace. The fact was that 
she still hated the essential part of her life as queen 
as much as she loathed Windsor, and this autumn, 
though she only returned there under great pressure 
on November 17, her spirits fell instantly, so that by 
the beginning of December she was reported to be 
deeply depressed a part of which depression may 
have been caused by the election results. She had 
not found Lord Salisbury so docile to her whims as 
had been Lord Beaconsfield, for he, like Gladstone, 
attached more importance to her position as head of 
the State than did her favourite minister. 

The elections were begun on November 23rd, and 
Salisbury appointed a Council meeting for the i8th. 



GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 333 

The Queen, however, said that she did not intend to 
return south before that date, and if a Privy Council 
was necessary, then it would have to be held at 
Balmoral. Salisbury, however, was firm; the i8th was 
the very last day on which the Council could be held 
before the elections, and his representations were 
strong enough to make Victoria give up a few days of 
her holiday, and save a large body of her loyal helpers 
from the wearisome journey to and from Scotland. 

The election was virtually fought on the Irish ques- 
tion. Parnell demanded some form of Home Rule, 
Salisbury declared definitely for the reform if not the 
repeal of the Coercion Act. Gladstone, who foresaw 
that Ireland would be the essential question in the 
new Parliament, offended Parnell by refusing to 
formulate any scheme; while Hartington and Cham- 
berlain definitely declared against any Irish plan at 
all. Parnell decided to throw his weight on the side 
of Salisbury, with results which were embarrassing to 
every one. The Liberals stood at 333, the Conserva- 
tives at 251, and the Parnellites at 86 on the side of 
the Conservatives, so that the latter could count a 
majority of four in a full house. But it meant Glad- 
stone being called once again to power. No wonder 
Victoria was depressed in spirits in December ! 

Things had not gone well with her this year, but 
in more than one respect the reason lay with herself. 
She was far too careful with her money in England; 
she spent nothing on dress, on hospitality or on State 
functions, and on the other hand there were constantly 
little bills put before the parliamentary finance com- 



334 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

mittee for payment. Thus when our present king was 
given the Garter in March, 548 was demanded to 
pay the expense, and there was the same for Prince 
Henry, then 360 was asked for steamboats to carry 
royalties between Dover and Calais ; her steam yacht, 
Victoria and Albert, which she used scarcely four times 
a year, was repaired and decorated at a public cost of 
50,000, and as she had four or five such yachts people 
began to make inquiries into the annual cost of these, 
and found it to be, including the pay of officers and 
sailors, very large. In June there was another foolish 
little matter which provoked comment and amusement. 
Some ardent Egyptian admirer made Victoria a 
present of a donkey for the little carriage which she 
used in the grounds of her residences. It was to be 
sent from Suez, so a transport waited there with steam 
up for days, until the deliberate animal eventually 
appeared, the cost of the waiting being about 150 
per day. 

A small matter concerned with the Civil List was 
also revived, showing that four or five people who 
had helped to educate the Queen, and who were pen- 
sioned in 1840, were still receiving 100 a year each; 
one had taught her drawing, another dancing, others 
music, German and Italian. Two years later the 
Marquis de Foulon died, thus releasing one hundred 
pounds. One feels some shame that these small sums 
were the subject of public comment, but, on the other 
hand, had her Majesty shown generosity with her own 
money as well as that of the nation, half these grumbles 
would never have been uttered. 



GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 335 

In the autumn of 1885 a rumour spread that Victoria 
had invested a million pounds in ground rents in the 
City, which rumour Ponsonby denied by asserting that 
the Queen had not such a sum to invest. Upon which 
busybodies declared that though she might not have 
got it then she had had it, and published proofs of 
property bought, one cited being St. Mary Chambers 
in St. Mary Axe, for which 46,250, that is twenty-five 
years' purchase, had been paid, the deal having been 
completed on June 6, 1878, in her Majesty's name 
by cheques on Coutts's Bank. Other examples fol- 
lowed, and though no one could prove the existence 
of such a sum as one million, it was everywhere 
believed. 

Indeed it was a season of complaint, and the society 
papers got warm over the paucity of Drawing-rooms, 
State balls and concerts held by the Queen. It was a 
fair grumble, for when she did once or twice in the 
year summon visitors to her palace, those ladies who 
had been weeping because they were not invited had 
occasion to weep because they were; for the oppor- 
tunities being so few the Drawing-rooms were crowded 
as in the very worst days of palace mismanagement. 
All the archaic customs were also adhered to, the 
carriages not being allowed to stand at the door long 
enough for the owners to reach them, and if they were 
not actually on the spot these poor tired women would 
see their vehicle roll away to complete the whole round 
again, while they might have to stand an hour or more, 
faint with thirst and fatigue. Through the papers 
they implored that at least a cup of tea should be 



336 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

offered them by their royal hostess, but the petition 
was in vain. 

To this recrudescence of complainings the Queen 
turned her usual indifferent ear, and invoked the usual 
exasperation of her people. Had she been less self- 
absorbed and less obstinate, she could have swept the 
whole thing away as a cobweb is swept down, but she 
refused ; she must adhere to the line she had laid down 
for herself. In actual fact she did more than that, 
she bent the line inwards, as it were, retreating with 
it, and thus keeping her people at a greater distance. 
She could be kindhearted to individuals, death could 
always bring tears to her eyes and a beautiful letter 
of sympathy from her pen to a mourner, but her lack 
of imagination left her cold as stone to the requests of 
a community. 

In the case of soldiers this indifference warmed into 
thoughtfulness, and an anecdote is told of a visit she 
made to Netley Hospital in 1883, when she observed 
to the authority near her that she should like to see 
more armchairs in the wards. 

" Only one armchair to a ward is allowed by the 
regulation, your Majesty," was the reply. 

" I was not speaking of regulations, but of arm- 
chairs," was the quick retort. 

In some vague way Victoria associated Gladstone 
with these ebullitions of public criticism, for these 
discomforts seemed to happen under his rule ; and 
though Salisbury was actually in power when this 
latest outburst occurred, there was a Liberal majority 
in the House. Thus she was keenly troubled over the 



GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 337 

1885 elections, and went down to Osborne, after the 
mourning rituals of December 14, with a heavy heart; 
the more so that Gladstone had outlined his Home 
Rule policy to her early in the month, and she felt 
that another political fight was imminent, and one in 
which she saw no saving grace at all on the Home 
Rule side. 

I remember the discussions against the royal family 
of that period, the popular and vehement talk, the 
speeches at street corners and the wild bets made that 
if the then Prince of Wales was ever allowed to 
become king, his son never should be. This was 
generally flavoured with stories of the wonderful 
wealth which the Queen had saved from the taxes 
imposed upon the people, and the vast sums that she 
had spent over German princes both in England and 
on the Continent. There were also other stories which 
had leaked through some chink in the iron wall of 
reserve which the Prince Consort had built round the 
domestic life of the palace, stories of the Queen's 
arbitrariness, of her excessive demands upon her 
ladies, the long hours of standing in her presence so 
that occasionally one fainted at her post, of capricious 
dislikes and ladies being suddenly dismissed simply 
because she had wearied of them, or they had proved 
physically unequal to the labour demanded. Thirty 
years ago these things were said, and the writer of the 
article in The Quarterly Review of 1901 substantiates 
some of them. 

It goes without saying that Victoria refused to under- 
stand that her own attitude under a Liberal Govern- 



338 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ment was the real cause of the disaffection, that she 
shut herself up more rigidly then than when the 
Conservatives were in power and showed far less 
consideration all round. Thus, not having opened a 
Liberal session for twenty years, she returned in 1886 
from Osborne before January 21, to go to the House 
of Lords in semi-state to support Salisbury. 

On his defeat Salisbury, who had all the grit of 
his race, showed no intention of refusing to meet 
Parliament, as Disraeli had done ten years earlier, 
and he occupied the Ministerial bench when the House 
opened, but five days later he was outvoted, and the 
parties changed sides. Gladstone had prepared a 
scheme for municipal Home Rule in Ireland without 
prejudice to Imperial Unity and interests, and on 
March is, 1886, there came into being the notable new 

v/ * * O 

party, the Liberal-Unionists, under Joseph Chamber- 
lain, the ultra-Radical. Thus there were four parties 
in the House. Chamberlain and his group, Harting- 
ton, the Whig, and his followers, Salisbury and the 
Tories and Gladstone and the Liberals. The first 
three met to discuss the situation and lay their plans, 
and on June 7 the first Home Rule Bill was rejected. 

After winding up the debate and while the House 
was cleared for division, Gladstone sat on the Treasury 
bench and with calm face began writing his letter on 
his knees to the Queen. This daily letter at the end 
of a long and exciting debate must always have been i 
something of a tax upon a weary and harassed 
minister. 

It was a curious characteristic of Victoria that, when 



GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 389 

it suited her, she played with the conventions of 
parliamentary custom. Home Rule was dead and out 
of the way. There had recently been an election, and 
though her minister was repugnant to her, he could 
now do little harm, so she decided that another election 
was unnecessary. It was, she said, a needless disturb- 
ance of her own and the country's peace. Gladstone, 
however, saw in resignation rather than dissolution 
simply an abandonment of the Irish cause, a showing 
of the white feather, as he told the Queen, and he 
dissolved without delay. 

During the preceding weeks Victoria had suffered 
:rom every emotion of disgust and nervous tension. 
To give the Irish any voice in their own affairs, to allow 
hem any kind of local government meant to her, as 
t has done to a large number of her subjects who have 
never studied the suggestions put forth, a disruption 
of her empire, a breaking of her coronation oath, a 
landing of Ireland over to America, and a number of 
other absurd and impossible calamities. Much the 
same things were said about self-government for South 
.\frica, and had the Government then in power list- 
ened, the Boers would, as one nation, in this year of 
1915, have joined our German foes, and Africa would 
lave been the scene of a terrible war. 

All along Victoria had definitely expounded her 
iews about her Prime Minister and his Bill to every 
pie with whom she came in contact, and she con- 

iously headed the Opposition, so the defeat brought 
great joy, and when the new Parliament showed 

Unionist majority of no and she had to take leave 



340 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of Gladstone she was beaming. He had spent fifty- 
five years in political life, and twenty-five years in 
office, and her sole remark personal to him at the leave- 
taking was that he would require some rest. The 
greater part of the conversation was devoted to a dis- 
cussion of the means to be employed to secure grants, 
dowries and pensions for the third generation of her 
family. She was glad to be rid of him, but she was 
quick to seize the opportunity of enlisting his help for 
her personal affairs. 

" I remember," said Gladstone, " that on a closing 
audience in 1874 she said she felt sure I might be 
reckoned upon to support the Throne. She did not 
say anything of the sort to-day. Her mind and 
opinions have since that day been seriously warped, 
and I respect her for the scrupulous avoidance of any- 
thing which could have seemed to indicate a desire on 
her part to claim anything in common with me." 

Yet she was ready to grasp at this opportunity of 
ensuring his future support ! 

During the election Gladstone took the unusual 
course of speaking in many large centres, Glasgow, 
Edinburgh, Manchester and others, and the Queen 
remonstrated with him in what Lord Morley called " a 
gracious and frank letter from Balmoral." To which 
he replied, "He must state frankly what it is that has 
induced him thus to yield (to importunity for speeches). 
It is that, since the death of Lord Beaconsfield, the 
Leaders of the Opposition have established a rule of 
what may be called popular agitation, by addressing 
public meetings from time to time at places with which 






GLADSTONE AGAIN, ALAS! 341 

they were not connected. This method was peculiarly 
marked in the case of Lord Salisbury as a peer, and 
this change on the part of the Leaders of the Opposi- 
; tion has induced Mr. Gladstone to deviate on this 
critical occasion from the rule which he had generally 
or universally observed in former years. . . . Your 
Majesty will be the first to perceive that, even if it 
had been possible for him to decline this great con- 
test, it was not possible for him, having entered upon 
it, to conduct it in a half-hearted manner, or to omit 
the use of any means requisite in order to place (what 
me thinks) the true issue before the country." 

So was legalized, as it were, the custom of ministers 
land their opponents speaking all over the country. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 

" She did not struggle knowingly against principles ; she did 
not conceive of them. She struggled solely against men who 
displeased her. . . . Queen, in good faith she defended royalty. 
It was her r61e. To reproach Victoria because, being on the 
throne, she had not enough intelligence and foresight to puf 
the interest and future good of the nation before what she 
considered as the interest and immediate good of her country, 
of her function, of her person, would be to reproach her for not 
having combined heroism and genius in her soul." Abel 
Chevalley: 'La Reine Victoria.' 

"The hurrahs were yet ascending from our jubilating lips."- 
De Quincey : 'Autobiographical Sketches.' 

THERE had already been in the winter of 1885 talk 
of the rejoicings which it was hoped would be made 
on the attainment of the fiftieth year of Victoria's , 
reign, and the hint of such a thing caused her pleasure, 
even though it occurred when Lord Salisbury was 
being turned out of power, and swelled into popular 
favour under Gladstone. There was about it a sugges- 
tion of peace and good feeling which she hailed gladly, 
and her sensible suggestion that it should be held on 
the completion of the fiftieth year was accepted by all 
as a proof of her strength and confidence. 

She was, indeed, in better health, both of body and 
mind; the poisonous depression and self -absorption 
which had held her for twenty-five years and rendered 

342 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 343 

her a nonentity in her own capital was at last being 
effectively conquered, and for the first time she seemed 
really to become aware that any unpopularity from 
which she had suffered had some relation to her own 
attitude. Thus 1886 saw the beginning of a revolu- 
tion in her life, brought about in the first place by a 
desire to lead the fight against a measure which she 
opposed with every sentiment of her being. 

The keenness of her feeling against Home Rule 
led her to look for methods of impressing her ideas 
upon the people, and she could think only of that 
"personal influence" which she had so long scorned. 
In realizing this she also began to see that she had 
deliberately thrown aside many golden opportunities. 
So she armed herself for the conflict, and the fight 
was begun by her appearance at the opening of Par- 
liament in January 1886, and though five days later 
Gladstone succeeded to the Chair of State, she con- 
stantly appeared in public during the session. In 
February she went to a great concert at the Albert 
Hall; in March she laid the foundation-stone of the 
Medical Examination Hall on the Embankment, 
actually replying herself to the address presented to 
her. When, in 1882, she had opened the Royal Courts 
of Justice, the programme included a short opening 
speech by herself; but as the moment approached 
she began to look very unhappy, and, beckoning Sir 
William Harcourt, talked earnestly to him every one 
thinking that he was getting a scolding. The fact 
was that she was suddenly stricken with deadly 
nervousness, and was telling him that she could not 



344 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

utter the briefest sentence, and commanding him to 
do it for her. In May she opened the great Colonial 
and Indian Exhibition (the " Colindries ") at South 
Kensington, the inception of which was due to the 
Prince of Wales. She did things now, not as a 
prisoner dragged to the task, but with a will; and in 
this instance decided upon a magnificent state cere- 
monial, which awoke enthusiasm in the souls of those 
who love a show. From Paddington to South Ken- 
sington she drove through huzzaing crowds. At the 
exhibition she was received with a blare of trumpets 
and the National Anthem, by a host of people brilliant 
in garb and many of them brilliant in reputation. Her 
throne in the amphitheatre was of hammered gold 
(once in the possession of the East India Company; 
one wonders how they got it !), and the canopy was 
of Indian cloth-of-gold, its hangings looped with gol 
chains and pendants of Delhi work. 

It was all very gorgeous and inspiriting, and the 
Queen once more did what for twenty-five years she 
had refused to do except over a tomb or a statue 
she gave voice to her own reply to the address. Sh 
had at last found her feet, and seemed determine 
henceforth to walk on them, and not to be for ev 
begging her people to carry her. 

Later she held a review at Aldershot to do honou 
to her Indian and Colonial visitors, asked them to 
lunch at Windsor, and gave a party there to the 
overseas workers at the exhibition. But she forgot 
that all this goodwill had been made possible by 
the policy of past Governments who recognized the 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 345 

autonomous principle of Colonial government, the 
very principle which, when applied to Ireland, she 
thought would be disruptive of her empire. 

A week after the opening of the exhibition she 
paid a long-promised and long-delayed visit to Liver- 
pool. She stayed there three days and two nights, 
and though it rained intolerably all through one of 
those days she stuck to the programme, and drove in 
an open carriage through the streets. Well might she 
have a wonderful and glorious welcome ! Returning 
thence to Windsor, she then took her usual holiday 
at Balmoral, and at the end of June was ready to 
open the Royal Holloway College at Egham. Think 
of it, a college for women ! In addition to all these 
functions she held Drawing-rooms and State concerts 
in London, and ordered various other levees, balls 
and assemblies to take place. The whole royal family 
were allowed to wake up at last, the various princes 
and princesses being kept busy with the public events 
which have since become recognized as part of their 
duties; giving their blessings to new bridges, schools 
and institutions, and to various celebrations. 

In August the Queen went from Osborne to Edin- 
burgh, staying at Holyrood Palace, and visiting the 
Edinburgh International Exhibition, where compli- 
mentary addresses passed between the Queen and the 
Lords Provost of Edinburgh and Glasgow. From 
Holyrood to Balmoral she went, and thence in the 
first week of November to Windsor, where, on the 
23rd of the same month, Princess Beatrice bore a son. 
This last occurrence necessitated Christmas being 



346 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

spent at Windsor the second time since her widow- 
hood. It was kept cheerfully, too, with all th( 
usual Christmas accessories, and "a jolly tuck-in" 
for the Bluecoat School boys, though, for some reason, 
the aids to warmth, both internal and external, for the 
poor were not distributed until the New Year. On 
the last day of the month her Majesty flitted to 
Osborne, and stayed there well over the opening of 
Parliament. 

By six months' activity Victoria had almost slaii 
the dragons of discontent and revolt. In 1885 it was 
popularly reported that Albert Edward, Prince of 
Wales, did not hope to be king, which was probabb 
true; one remembers that little sentence he uttered at 
the close of his life : " Well, there will be one more 
king, in any case." By the end of 1886, thanks to 
the resuscitation of energy in the Queen, he had a 
sporting chance. There were and are, of course, 
always with us those who disapprove of royalty by 
reason rather than by sentiment, and these, now that 
the danger of royal aggrandisement of power under 
German tutelage has disappeared, are tolerant enough. 

The Queen and her eldest son were never close 
friends, and for long Victoria had found so much to 
criticize in Alexandra that by this date their affection 
for each other was much more equable when they were 
apart. It is quite understandable. Queen Victoria, 
in spite of Bismarck's spiteful criticisms, was a perfect 
and, from the feminine point of view, admirable speci- 
men of a German frau. She considered that the chief 
duties of a woman were to be prolific, to adore her 




KING EDWARD VII AS PRINCE OF WALES 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 347 

husband, to dress soberly, manage economically, and 
to forswear intellect. Alexandra never interfered in 
State matters, nor made a cult of intellectual pursuits, 
but she had that which carries a woman a long way : 
infinite social charm and knowledge, coupled with a 
self-sacrificing patience which Victoria utterly lacked ; 
she had had a fair number of children, but the oppor- 
tunity for marital adoration had seldom been given 
her, and there had been times when matters in the 
" Social Court " were distinctly strained. The great 
fault which the Queen found in her, however, was 
that, though she was the mother of adult children, 
she did not walk in the way of the Prince Consort's 
precepts. She allowed no one to say, " That you shall 
not wear ! " and she did not dress according to what 
her mother-in-law considered was a style suitable to 
one who might have been a grandmother. She was 
still the best-dressed and the most graceful woman at 
Court, and retained an appearance of youth which her 
own eldest daughter could not rival. 

Another sore point had been that in common with 
the Crown Princess in Prussia she had, in conjunc- 
tion with her husband, utterly turned her back upon 
the Stockmar-Albertian ideal of education for royal 
children. The Prince of Wales had always deter- 
mined that his children should not suffer from the 
nervousness and cramped effect which his upbringing 
had entailed upon himself, with its consequent over- 
powering self-consciousness; and his boys were sent 
to school, while his girls led a natural home life, 
unfettered by a profundity of mock respect for their 



348 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

high-born parents. They also were allowed to observe 
the continental rather than the British Sabbath. 

A further cause of friction between the two ladies 
was that the Queen shuddered at the name of Glad- 
stone, while the Princess most undutifully liked him; 
a liking in which the Prince shared, whether he did 
or did not always agree with the Grand Old Man's 
policy, which, however, was never known. Gladstone 
once told Lord Ronald Gower that no royalty that he 
had ever known "but my experience is limited" 
had such charm and tact as the Prince of Wales. 

In 1883 Gladstone had been one of a party with 
Tennyson and Browning to go a cruise to Denmark, 
and had been made much of by the royal family there ; 
a matter which drew a sharp reproof from Victoria, 
in that Gladstone the locality of the cruise being 
unpremeditated had not first received her permission 
to go near Denmark. On his side the statesman was 
a courtier to the finger-tips where the Princess was 
concerned, as, indeed, he also was to the Queen : 
" Nothing could be more charming than the deference 
he paid to the Princess, and the pleasure she always 
showed in his company." 

Gladstone always expressed delight over his inter- 
course with the Prince, whom he yearly invited to his 
annual Royal Birthday dinner, being much troubled 
over it in 1886 because the many splits in Parliament 
made him fear that most of the chief men would refuse 
the invitation, and he would be shamed before the 
Prince and Albert Victor, who was to be his guest for 
the first time ; however, his old comrades showed better 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 349 

sense, and the dinner was a success. The Queen had 
an absolute abhorrence of tobacco, a dislike which 
Gladstone shared, but he, knowing what a victim to 
the nicotine fiend was Albert Edward, always gave his 
Royal Highness the lead by lighting a cigarette. 

Victoria had in early days been most severe with 
her son over this habit, absolutely forbidding him to 
smoke in any of the royal residences; and when on 
one occasion the youthful prince transgressed he was 
sentenced to remain in his rooms for a month, a 
punishment rigorously enforced. Such punishments 
were customary in German royal families, and are still 
inflicted by the Kaiser on the slightest excuse upon 
one or other of his many relatives. 

This prohibition extended to visitors at the castle, 
even to the dine-and-sleep-one-night visitors, and 
there are amusing anecdotes of noted men lying on 
the hearthrug to smoke up the chimney, or resorting 
to other sly ways of getting a luxurious whiff. Punch 
declared in 1 863 that so strictly were the rules against 
it carried out that the very chimneys received intima- 
tion from the Lord Chamberlain that they would be 
expected to consume their own smoke. And further 
back, in the early days of his marriage, the Prince 
Consort was thus interdicted, it needing many a 
struggle before his beloved pipe became regarded as 
part of his lawful possessions. 

Before his marriage Prince Henry of Battenberg 
smoked in bed or in his bedroom ; but he had not been 
long a Benedick before he was allowed far greater 
latitude than had ever been extended to his brother- 



350 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in-law, or even to the deceased and beloved prince 
himself. But by this time the Queen had attained 
something in breadth of view on this subject, as on 
many others. 

In 1886 the Battenberg question had become again 
acute. Alexander of Bulgaria was continuing his 
series of quarrels with Russia, and Queen Victoria 
warmly took up his side; the Blue Book on Bulgaria 
and Eastern Rumelia recording her opinion that if 
he succeeded in once more grasping the reins of power 
with a steady hand, and again stood forth as the 
constitutional head of a law-abiding state, the people 
of England would probably be deeply moved and 
" would scarcely look on with indifference should an 
attempt be made from without to disturb this state 
of things " : which was something like a hint of war, 
as well as a promise which the people of England 
would scarcely have honoured. 

Alexander was very handsome, and this, coupled 
with his misfortunes, was sufficient to capture Victoria's 
heart. At one time news concerning him could not 
be secured, and she sent repeated anxious messages 
to Darmstadt, to which at last arrived an answer that 
the hero was suffering from typhoid, though the illness 
turned out to be smallpox. He recovered, and when 
he came to England in the early summer he was, by 
the Queen's orders, received with royal honours by 
the garrisons and fleet; the cause of this being that 
Victoria was seeking to settle him matrimonially, and 
report had it that Princess Louise of Wales was the 
chosen lady, also the widowed Duchess of Albany 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 351 

was mentioned; but later every one knew that it was 
Princess Victoria of Prussia, the Queen's grand- 
daughter and sister to the present kaiser. 

There was some indignation over Prince Louis of 
Battenberg at this time, as he had been made com- 
mander of the Dreadnought, first ship of its species, 
over the heads of a large number of senior officers, 
even though he had been judged medically unfit. In 
this matter Victoria had personally intervened, insist- 
ing upon his appointment, the reason being that until 
he had had a year's command he could not get the 
rank of captain. 

In the same year Henry was appointed aide-de- 
camp to the Queen, a position which carried with it a 
colonelcy in the Army and its pay, and he became 
colonel of the Isle of Wight (Princess Beatrice's) 
battalion of Rifles. It was popularly asserted that 
the mantle of John Brown had fallen upon the 
shoulders of this favourite son-in-law, and that the 
fishing and shooting so long reserved for the ex- 
clusive use of the servant were now reserved for the 
prince. 

At Osborne the Queen made a new departure in 
February 1887, by having the Kendal and Hare com- 
pany to act before her, and she was so pleased that 
she gave a valuable brooch to Mrs. Kendal. Six years 
earlier she had seen a theatrical performance, the first 
of her widowhood, when at Abergeldie the Prince and 
Princess of Wales arranged the play of Burnand's 
The Colonel. The Queen also commanded some of 
Blithe Windsor clerics to journey to Osborne to preach 



352 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

before her, though it was quite easy for her to hear 
them when at the castle; and in January, during very 
cold weather, her statesmen had to make the long 
journey to consult with her. 

At the end of February she returned to Windsor 
Castle for about six weeks, and arranged two Draw- 
ing-rooms for March, during which month she actually 
spent ten days in London probably the first succes- 
sive ten days for nearly forty years. This succeeded 
a visit to Birmingham, where she had been enthusias- 
tically received. 

The Drawing-rooms, though held at Buckingham 
Palace, were crowded, but her Majesty did not now 
feel equal to going through the whole ceremony, and 
after about eighty presentations had been made 
slipped away, her place being taken by the Princess 
of Wales. To lessen the fatigue the Queen had had 
arranged for her comfort a high stool, upon which she 
half sat, half leaned, while retaining the appearance 
of standing. Her fondness for her grandchildren had 
let her permit half a dozen of them, including Princess 
Beatrice's baby in the arms of a nurse, to stand by 
the doorway, where the ladies' trains were unfolded 
and spread before their interested eyes. 

The children were the delight of the Queen's life, 
and they loved her as children can love an indulgent, 
understanding grandmother. What a pity it is that 
so many parents have to grow old before they lose 
the red-tapism of parentage, in which they are even 
more tangled to-day than they were in the Queen's 
youth, for babies are no longer budding individuals, 




THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 353 

but puppets in some one's generally Germanic 
system. 

In April Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice and 
Prince Henry went to Cannes and Aix-les-Bains for 
a month, necessitating the passing to and fro of 
Queen's Messengers at Easter to obtain her signature 
to parliamentary bills, and the consequent remaining 
in town for three days of ministers who might have 
been off for the Easter recess. By May the arrange- 
ments for the Jubilee were well advanced, and though 
the Queen was too busy to hold the Drawing-rooms 
herself, she was several times in town. Once she 
went to inspect the atrocious mauling of Westminster 
Abbey which was in progress, and followed this by 
attending a performance by Buffalo Bill at the Wild 
West Show. 

She arrived at the latter place soon after five o'clock, 
accompanied by the Battenbergs, in a carriage and 
four, with outriders in scarlet; and other carriages 
followed her. Some of her friends went in the 
" Dreadnought " coach, which was driven at the gallop 
round the arena while Indians attacked it, and a 
tremendous amount of bogus firing went on; all of 
which affected her into a state of radiant delight, so 
that at the close Buffalo Bill, the Indian chief and 
two of the squaws with their little painted papooses 
were presented. How much healthier mentally she 
would have been had she oftener enjoyed simple 
things like this ; and also how much more exhilarating 
would it have been for her that day had she seen the 
whole gallery of seats filled with her happy subjects, 



AA 



354 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

instead of being empty by her orders so that the 
performance might be private to herself. 

On a Saturday in May her Majesty went in grand 
procession to open the People's Palace in the East 
End, and most divergent accounts were given in the 
papers of her reception. On the one hand it was said 
that the enthusiasm was intense, on the other that she 
was coldly, even sullenly, received, derisive shouts 
being heard at some points. The cheers, it was said, 
came from the window-holders, and the sullenness 
was caused by the fact that the tradesmen had 
petitioned for another day, as Saturday was the most 
important day for their business, the response from 
the Secretary's office being that "her Majesty was not 
pleased to signify any commands thereon." 

It was a trying journey for more than one person, 
for Fenianism was still to the fore, and dynamite not 
long discarded as a weapon; and the East End was 
regarded in spite of the philanthropists as the 
source of all metropolitan violence. The Queen could 
not be sure that all would go well, and Henry of 
Battenberg was, justly or unjustly, said to give open 
evidence of being in a blue funk. 

There had been many Jubilee suggestions made. 
The Prince of Wales proposed the ill-fated Imperial 
Institute, which gained little favour from the first. 
Some suggested the repeal of the Royal Marriage 
Act; more advanced people referred to an earlier 
rumour and suggested that the Queen should resign 
in favour of her son. Others were bolder still, and 
openly said that Victoria herself should return thanks 






to God by giving something to her country. The 
Rev. Arthur Robins, Rector of Holy Trinity, Windsor, 
and familiarly known as the Soldiers' Bishop, thought 
it would be a noble act if the pestilential spots of 
Windsor should be cleansed and healthy houses built 
for the poor, for no place in England was so fever- 
stricken as the district which lay around the royal 
castle. Some one suggested that all women should 
contribute and form a Women's Jubilee Fund. 

Of all these proposals only the first and the last 
were carried out, and the public languidly subscribed 
to both. Baroness Burdett Coutts heaped coals of fire 
on her sovereign's head by presiding at a large meet- 
ing in London to start the Women's Fund idea, for 
the Queen had shown a very broad back to her since 
her marriage. The fund being well started, Victoria 
nearly killed it by announcing her intention of build- 
ing a new memorial to Prince Albert with it ! Purses 
shut up with a snap at the very idea. This coming 
to the ears of her Majesty, as well as the want of 
enthusiasm about the Imperial Institute, caused her 
much distress. So nothing further was said about the 
statue, and the sum rolled up to about 80,000, of 
which only 3000 was used for a bronze equestrian 
statue to the Prince, later set up in Windsor Park. 
The great bulk of the gift the Queen devoted to found- 
ing an institute for training nurses as attendants on the 
sick poor in their homes, and some of the ladies nearly 
wept because her Majesty did not keep a trifle to buy 
herself a personal ornament in commemoration of the 
glad event. 



856 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The late Arthur W. a Beckett did his utmost with 
Cardinal Manning to get the Golden Rose for her 
Majesty from the Pope, but she was outside the 
Church, and the end of it was that the Cardinal 
murmured, with a smile, to his interviewer, " The 
dear lady has received a very beautiful mosaic from 
Rome. It would have been the Golden Rose had it 
been possible." 1 

In return for this and for the Pope's courtesy in 
sending a representative to the Jubilee, Victoria sent 
for the Papal Jubilee the following year a golden ewer 
and basin. 

One of the many presents sent to Queen Victoria 
was a carriage rug of feathers gathered from the sea- 
birds of Heligoland, that valuable isle which with 
such lavish prodigality she later thrust into the hands 
of her beloved grandson, the War Lord. This present 
reminds me of that sent ten years earlier by the 
Empress of Brazil of a dress made of spiders' webs, 
with which the handsomest silk could not compare 
either in quality or beauty, and which was made from 
the strong threads woven by a large species of South 
American arachnid. 

The previous year the Queen had pleased India by 
attaching two Indian attendants to her service, and 
now she added an Indian gentleman, the Munshi 
Abdul Karim, as Groom of the Chamber, with a special 
duty of teaching her Hindustani. She was doing her 
best to bind the empire safely round her throne; but 
what might she not have done had she started on this 
1 Arthur W. k Beckett : The a Becketts of ' Punch. ' 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 357 

course twenty-five years earlier? And, by the way, 
through all these distractions and engagements where 
were the noted dispatch boxes which were supposed 
daily to take up the whole of her time? It must be 
hoped that with her growing sense of fitness she had 
banished all but the most important. This suggests 
the further idea of how much easier and more pleasant 
a time the Marquis of Salisbury had in office than had 
ever the G.O.M., whose Government she harassed 
daily, and sometimes hourly, over matters small and 
great. ' The nation at large knew nothing of diffi- 
culties at Windsor," sfays Lord Morley of Victoria's 
relations with a Liberal Government. 

The Indians created some confusion at times, 
especially when they were travelling. " Sir Henry, 
disquieted about Indian attendants, whose castes 
required three separate apartments," noted the train 
superintendent; "however, only two were to be had." 
This remark occurs various times in comments upon 
the journeys, which were occasionally touched with 
gleams of humour. Thus in 1892 a pungent smell of 
hot oil arose, but no one could find its origin; and 
at Forfar the train had to pull up. 

' The Queen wants to know what gars this stink ! " 
was the question of John Brown's brother. It was 
found to be due to a faulty locomotive, which had to 
be detached. During the popularity of Sarah Grand's 
work one of her Majesty's ladies, arriving at Windsor, 
was greatly distressed because she had lost "the 
heavenly twins," and she was sure she had had them 
during the night in the sleeping-saloon. 



358 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The Queen often dined at Perth, and it is curious 
to think of her at table in a room at the Station 
Hotel there dining from gold plate, brought for her 
use from Tynemouth Castle by her faithful subject 
Lord Breadalbane. It gives a touch of colour in 
keeping with the royal saloon, covered with blue and 
white silks. When G. P. Neele had taken her a 
hundred times to and fro, Victoria presented him with 
a chiming clock in recognition of his services for 
thirty-one years, and when he soon after retired he had 
an audience of her and received a valuable present. 

In 1887 the Queen remained four weeks at Bal- 
moral, trying to calm her nerves for the great ceremony 
before her, for she was in no very happy or confident 
mood. In fact, she dreaded the day of Jubilee; she 
feared its fatigues, for she had allowed herself a 
chronic belief in the delicacy of her health, and she 
feared assassination. This will seem impossible to 
some, yet she had had more pistols pointed at her 
than she had fingers on one hand ; and though we are, 
in common with most nations, conscious of our own 
rectitude, she had some reason for her fear. How 
often had a storm of indignation risen around her 
from the ranks of her people ? and what had she ever 
given to Ireland but her approval of harsh measures 
and insensate punishment for a moral illness brought 
on by oppression? What a target might not her 
glittering procession be for dynamite? 

The incessant discussions over clothes, guests, gifts 
and arrangement left her irritable and worn, so that 
on her return to Windsor she was in a bad state of 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 359 

nervous excitement. She had to include guests whom 
she did not want, whose morals offended her, and she 
felt no peace in anything, only ardently wishing that 
all were over. 

The day came at its appointed time, and passed; 
many have written about it, some with strong criticism 
and others with a happy faculty for universal admira- 
tion. One declared that her Majesty never looked 
more cheerful and it was impossible to pick a hole in 
any of the arrangements for this great and superb 
show. Yet it was not so great and superb as it might 
have been, for the state carriage was not used, and 
there were other things which made it, despite its 
uniqueness, only a semi-state procession. 

Why? you may ask. Well, because her Majesty 
was a very careful and economical person, and the 
supreme moment of her age could not temper these 
qualities. Had she gone in full state the throne and 
the plate used would by ancient custom have become 
the property of the Lord Grand Chamberlain; and 
that was not to be thought of ! 

There were those who said that the Queen looked 
radiant, but Professor Blackie's evidence was that 
"in the last carriage was the Queen herself, whether 
sweet or glum I could not say. Certainly she did 
not look radiant. But though a good woman and an 
excellent wife and a model mother, she never did look 
sublimely regal even in her best days. So I was not 
disappointed." 

Then, too, as to the declaration that no fault could 
be found, William Allingham wrote in his diary : 



360 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

"Foreign kings in covered carriages long wait; 
soldiers march off all over? No; here come the 
Indian princes some in livery stables turnout; two 
hansoms mismanagement somewhere." 

The truth about the Queen's expression was that 
it differed at different stages; at first she was exceed- 
ingly nervous, and one reporter said that " at Waterloo 
Place her timorous agitation was pitiable, her mouth 
twitching." Coming back she felt reassured, her 
countenance was brighter and she showed a joyful, 
emotional excitement. 

The ten thousand people gathered in Westminster 
Abbey saw only the pathos and the gaiety of the 
memorable scene. Most of them only caught a pass- 
ing view of her Majesty, but the small proportion 
who could look down upon the central spot of interest 
saw a little old woman sitting alone in a square space 
in an ancient chair whose historic framework had been 
hidden by cloth of gold; before her being a prie-dieu 
so tall that no one under six feet high could use it. 

" She sat alone, how terribly alone in the vast 
crowd, and with what memories of the past thronging 
about her, a moment that I am not at all ashamed to 
say made me feel disposed to weep out of sympathy 
and reverence. There were many people in the 
galleries in front and immediately right and left 
staring straight in her face through opera glasses. It 
was not a part of the Steward's duties to stop such 
vulgarities, or how gladly one would have done it ! " 

1 The Coronation. Article in The Nineteenth Century and 
After. By Somers Clark. 



Fashions and manners had certainly changed for 
the worse since Victoria opened her first Parliament, 
and Lady Jersey raised general indignation in her 
own class by using opera glasses. 

At some distance, facing the Queen, sat the foreign 
kings and princes; on her right stood the royal 
princes and on her left the princesses. When the 
service was over these defiled before her, and she 
kissed all but the Crown Prince of Germany and 
Prince Louis of Hesse ; and when they had all passed 
she remembered that she had made a difference, and 
had those two called back that they also might receive 
the royal salute. 

When the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace 
after the long hours of driving she received a message 
from the aged Duchess of Cambridge hoping she was 
not tired ; and her answer was 

" I am too happy to be tired." 

There was a painful side to this day of rejoicing, 
and one which centred in the Abbey itself. To the 
undiscriminating the interior of that marvellous build- 
ing gave no jarring shock; the brilliant uniforms and 
gorgeous dresses, filling every available space from 
the floor to the roof, hid the poor decorations and 
made a picture of beauty. But to those who knew 
and loved the Abbey, behind all the extraneous glow 
and colour lay the most revolting desecration, indig- 
nity and callous disregard of real beauty. 

Thus when her Majesty alighted from her carriage, 

I in place of entering the Abbey through a great open 

door beneath the high roof soaring above her head, 



362 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

instead of seeing at once before her the solemn and 
noble interior, one of the most splendid things the 
world can show, she found herself in a little dark 
passage some ten feet high, crushed down beneath the 
feet of many of her subjects. The Times declared 
that the effect was that of a circus, the horses coming 
into the ring under a red baize box with a braying 
band in it : " That was the place of entry of the august 
Lady in whose reverence we had all assembled." 

The arrangements of the Abbey had been taken 
out of the hands of all the responsible Abbey officials, 
who knew the building's capabilities, its weak spots 
and what it could bear, and given entirely over to a 
firm of respectable undertakers, "the eminently re- 
spectable and entirely unsuitable firm of Messrs. 
Banting." 

They had arranged three great tiers of galleries, 
one above the other, over the west door, through 
which the Queen made her entry, which necessitated 
the low passage and the circus-like effect. The Times 
further tells how the galleries and the floor were 
covered with bath-red, which had the tint of cold 
blood and was incredibly mean and inartistic; the 
red was dotted all over with a ridiculous travesty of 
the Star of the Bath in white shaded with dirty grey. 
This carpet of cheap and nasty baize added to the 
circus effect, and drew from some reminiscent people 
a fancy picture of what the Abbey might have been 
treated with reverence and the floor covered with the 
rich rugs which were used at the coronation of 
George IV. 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 363 

Mr. Somers Clark, in his article in The Nineteenth 
Century and After, tells some gruesome stories of the 
method of preparing the Abbey by Banting's men. 
For instance, the Coronation Chair, the pride of two 
nations, was smeared over with stain and varnish, and 
futile upholstery was nailed into the remnants of the 
gessowork still adhering to the back and arms. The 
chair was then dragged over the wonderful Abbot 
Ware pavement in front of the altar, altogether irre- 
spective of damage to the mosaic. A question being 
asked in the Commons about the treatment of the 
chair, Banting was ordered to remove the disfigure- 
ment, so the men set to work with spirit to wash off 
the discoloration. Somers Clark declares that he saw 
them, after dabbing on the spirit, rub it off with the 
tails of their rough cotton shirts. He must have meant 
the aprons, or whatever the men call their save-all 
garments ; but even then the indignity was bad enough. 

When it was all over the floor of the North 
Ambulatory had yielded considerably through the 
heavy beams; the porphyry and serpentine pavement 
of St. Edward's Chapel was badly damaged; and 
the surface was dragged from the old grey walls in 
long bands of white in many places. 

" Happy inspiration ! Dirt from the London streets 
was collected, soup made of it in buckets, and this 
was dabbed on the wounded places with mops. This 
I saw done," said Somers Clark. 

One wonders by what arrangement a firm of under- 
takers were given this free hand to mar England's 
greatest building. 



364 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Of those who rode in the Queen's great procession 
that day the Crown Prince of Prussia won the most 
attention in his white uniform, and though he looked 
pale and grey, few knew that he was ill. Two queens 
were among the guests, the Queen of the Netherlands 
and the Queen of the Sandwich Islands. Of the latter 
Sir Lyon Playfair wrote 

' The only person who was of greater importance 
in England than in her own dominions was the Queen 
of the Sandwich Islands. She refused a guard of 
Hussars, and said that she would not leave her hotel 
unless Life Guards were sent to her as a crowned 
head, and she got her way. Another story went that 
the kings had struck and refused to offer their arms 
to her sable Majesty at the state balls, so the Dukes 
of Edinburgh and Connaught had to discharge this 
duty. It was surprising how this island queen main- 
tained her royal dignity. I waited upon her Majesty 
one evening, and she received me and conversed 
through an interpreter in excellent style." 

There was, however, another very important person 
in the procession, and that was a coachman, who was 
asked if he would be driving any of the imperial or 
royal guests then staying at Buckingham Palace, and 
who replied, with proper pride 

"No, sir; I am the Queen's coachman. I don't 
drive riff-raff." 

The great day drew to its close with an excited, 
shouting multitude thronging the streets; here was a 

1 Lyon Playfair, Memoirs and Correspondence. By Wemyss 
Reid. 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 365 

chance of amusing themselves, and they took it with- 
out reasoning why or blessing the cause of it; but 
they were so heady that they might have been invert- 
ing themselves to let their blood run to their brains. 
Some remained cool, perhaps stayed at home, of whom 
one was Lord Derby, who remarked that though he 
had been very grateful to the Queen for much she 
had done, and especially for much she might have 
done and had not, he had not yet managed to work 
himself into a state of enthusiastic gratitude to her 
for having reigned fifty years. 1 

These were dreadful sentiments when every one 
was bubbling over with animal spirits and Lentimen- 
tality, but the mark of a balanced mind none the 
less. 

Aix-les-Bains, grateful for her Majesty's recent 
visit, in company with other continental places, blazed 
its enthusiasm into the night sky, priding itself upon 
its magnificent -piece de resistance which set forth its 
" Hommage a la Reine Victoria," and in its eagerness 
fixed it upside down. 

Bismarck, too, had cast about for a way of celebrat- 
ing, and his most pointed idea was to instruct one of 
his creatures to write an article upon the relative 
merits of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, of 
course, as he said, " not to the advantage or the credit 
of the former." But his iron will went flabby for once, 
or rather deeper and more sinister intrigues occupied 
his mind, for the article was not written. It was a 
good thing, for the Queen would have been hurt, as of 
1 That Reminds Me. By Sir Edward Russell. 



366 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

all historical English persons she most hated Elizabeth 
and most loved the Stuarts, especially Mary, Queen 
of Scots. Yet there were many points of resemblance 
between her character and that of Queen Elizabeth, 
and it was Dean Stanley who once said, " When 
she faces you down with her ' It must be ! ' I don't 
know whether it is Victoria or Elizabeth who is 
speaking." 

For weeks the retreating wheels of the Jubilee 
rumbled in her Majesty's ears. She gave a great 
garden party at Buckingham Palace, at which, after 
the first appearance of the Queen, when the guests 
were marshalled into lanes for her to walk down, greet- 
ing those she knew, the well-bred guests literally 
mobbed her, opening out before her, closing when 
she had passed, and then rushing on in front to get 
another stare. (I saw the same thing done at the 
Quirinal a few years ago by people of all countries, 
but not by Italians.) The diplomatist Sir Frederick 
St. John, who was at the Buckingham Palace party, 
drew a favourable contrast to the aristocracy of Russia 
under the same circumstances; which should clear 
Russia on at least one point of the charge of 
barbarism. 

In July the Queen paid a visit to her Prime Minister 
at Hatfield, and she attended a naval review in the 
-Solent, at which, however, she lost her nerve, being 
very glad when it was over. All through her August 
visit to Osborne she received such masses of corre- 
spondence on the past event and had to give so much 
thought to it that it became a nightmare, for hidden 



THE QUEEN ALIVE ONCE MORE 367 

in her heart, under all the pleasure in the goodwill 
shown, lay a terrible sorrow. 

For years she had grieved over the troubles which 
sometimes threatened to overwhelm her eldest 
daughter, the Crown Princess of Germany; troubles 
arising from the animosity and jealousy of Bismarck. 
Now there was a worse calamity, in that the Crown 
Prince was afflicted with a serious disease. After the 
Jubilee he underwent a slight operation in England, 
the effects of which allowed him to eat and speak 
without pain ; and then the question had to be decided 
as to a long absence from Berlin and from the Court 
over which Prince Bismarck reigned supreme, with 
as his aide-de-camp Prince William, a Hohenzollern 
who concentrated in himself the most salient faults 
of his race. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE CROWN PRINCESS 

" My poor, dear, persecuted daughter ! " Queen Victoria of 
the Empress Frederick, 

"Germany will pay dearly for the honour of having had 
Bismarck at her head, and for having possessed the most 
incapable Parliament that ever existed. The future will avenge 
Europe, for what now makes the glory of Prussia will be the 
cause of her ruin in time to come. It is not with impunity that 
all the vital strength of a nation is centred in one man . . . 
although he has triumphed over six successive Parliaments by 
the same artifices, although he has aggrandized his country 
and made himself the arbiter of Europe, imposing his will on 
all, Prince Bismarck has at the same time prepared the fall and 
annihilation of his country." 'Society in Berlin.' By Count 
Paul Vasili. 1885. 

THERE has, perhaps, never lived a ruling sovereign 
about whom some marriage secret has not been related, 
and during the preparations for the Jubilee such a 
story was unearthed about Prince Albert, who was 
in effect a ruling sovereign was given publicity in 
the New York World and copied into some English 
newspapers. Such stories were told about George II, 
George III, George IV, William IV and nearly all 
the different members of the different royal genera- 
tions ; so if Albert did not surfer in exactly good com- 
pany, there were at least people of equal rank who 

shared his misfortune. 

368 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 369 

The story was to the effect that in a little back street 
of New York a certain Mrs. Kent kept a shop, and 
that she was actually Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, 
and in this wise : In 1839, while wandering about the 
Continent, Albert of Coburg had fallen in love with 
and married a Countess von Reuss, member of a well- 
known German family, and then in the autumn of that 
year came the Queen's intimation to Albert that she 
thought their union would be a wise and happy event. 
The Countess von Reuss bore Albert a daughter on 
November 8, 1840, and on the 2ist of the same month 
the Princess Royal was born. Upon this the deserted 
countess promised to efface herself on condition that 
the children should be changed, her child taking the 
position of Albert's eldest daughter, while Victoria's 
child was to be given over to the care of the Countess. 
After much persuasion the reluctant prince agreed, the 
exchange was secretly made, and the English princess 
grew up abroad. Her life was one of vicissitude. 
She married but got a divorce from her husband, went 
to America under the name of Mrs. Kent, came back 
and lived in Paris, whence she wrote to Victoria for 
money, John Brown being sent over there to see her 
and arrange matters. When last heard of, that is 
at the Jubilee, she was keeping this shop in New 
York. 

It was so absurd a story that no one heeded it, 
especially as with the repetition of it apologetic ex- 
planations were published to the effect that early in 
the century the Duke of Kent had for a time settled 
down with some lady, who was generally known as 



BB 



370 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Mrs. Kent, and of whom this person of New York was 
a descendant. 

Those of us who know the late portraits of the 
Empress and compare them with those of the Queen, 
could have no doubt that they were mother and 
daughter, though in her little volume, Recollections 
of a Royal Parish, Patricia Lindsay says, " She always 
seemed to me very unlike her brothers and sisters in 
appearance ; the type of face was different, and though 
not handsome in feature was highly intelligent and in 
youth very winning . . . inheriting, in the Queen's 
opinion, much of her father's nature and talent." 

This description, somewhat invidious in form, does 
not mean that the brothers and sisters were not 
clever, for though the Princess was extremely clever 
in a different way from her father, for while he was 
academic she was creative she yet was in some ways 
extremely stupid. In her tactlessness and indifference 
to public opinion and the feelings of those she dis- 
liked, she was very much like her mother, though, on 
the other hand, that which was obstinacy in the Queen 
developed as spirit with her, and she was entirely free 
from the weakness of self -commiseration which was 
so marked a feature of Victoria's middle life. Albert 
Edward was in many ways far more clever than his 
eldest sister, and though he did not distinguish him- 
self with the paint-brush and the chisel, or in scientific 
and diplomatic arguments, his judgment upon all the 
essentials of his state and position was impeccable. 
The public is already beginning to see that Edward 
VII is by far the greatest person that his family, 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 371 

either on the Guelphic or the Wettin side, has yet 
produced. 

The New York World story does, however, bring 
to mind the rumours which spread about early in the 
married life of Albert and Victoria of a strange foreign 
lady seeking the former at Buckingham Palace, of a 
lady starting from the Continent to find him, and being 
intercepted and sent back before she could get here, 
and subsequently of a mad woman who tried to annoy 
him with her delusions. 

Almost from the beginning the eldest princess's life 
had held the element of strife ; she adored her father, 
and always ranged herself by his side in any difference 
between him and her mother; and even to the Queen 
she never failed from her youth up to say what she 
thought on any subject of dispute, such as the favour 
shown to John Brown, or to the Battenbergs. 

Her life in Prussia was an unending struggle with 
Bismarck, for, as has been said, that statesman 
abhorred all royal women, fearing their influence, and 
he was not sparing of brutal criticism, for which he 
secured publication in the Press of many countries, 
attacking in turn the old Empress, Empress Augusta 
and the Crown Princess. This struggle culminated in 
1887 and 1888 with the illness of the Crown Prince 
Frederick, and the proposed marriage of his daughter 
Victoria to Alexander of Battenberg, matters which 
absorbed Queen Victoria's thoughts. 

It was obvious to all that the old Emperor William 
could not live long, and Bismarck looked forward with 
unconcealed repulsion to the reign of Frederick, with 



872 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

whose enlightened views he had no sympathy; and 
when he knew that the heir was suffering from a disease 
in the throat, he hailed it as a means of deliverance 
from a dangerous situation. He knew that various 
Hohenzollerns had suffered from cancer, and suspect- 
ing that this dread disease had once more appeared, 
he at once studied the possibility of passing over the, 
to him, obnoxious generation. Prince William, sus- 
ceptible to theories of force, was in his hands; for 
years the Chancellor had been training him in his 
system of warfare, aggression and greed of power and 
land. He had also been training him into opposition 
against his parents, and whole-hearted concord with 
himself. He regarded William as his puppet, and 
thought that if only Frederick could be eliminated 
his own further reign over Prussia would be assured. 

Would William I outlive his son? He hoped so, 
but he dared not leave it to chance. So he discovered 
an old Hohenzollern law, said to apply only to in- 
sanity, and twisted it into one making a mortal malady 
a bar to the succession. He insisted upon the surgeons 
and physicians to the Prince being appointed by the 
State, that is to say by himself, and ruled that their 
verdict should be final. The chief of these was 
Professor von Bergmann, a skilful surgeon who loved 
using the knife, whether necessary or not. 

By the spring of 1887 the disease had become 
serious, and the Princess had found out that a pecu- 
liarly odious form of espionage was being exercised 
in her home by people installed by Bismarck. There 
were spies, sycophants and scandal -mongers among 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 373 

her servants, and lies and half-truths, to the injury of 
the Crown Prince, were disseminated until Berlin 
became a veritable whispering gallery. 

Bismarck had more than one string to his bow; he 
caused a meeting with the Emperor of the Crown 
Prince and Prince William, at which the future situa- 
tion was discussed. No one knows what happened, 
but the story went that Frederick decided to waive 
his right of succession in favour of his son. It was 
further added that Bismarck had secured a written 
promise to that effect, but he was never able to pro- 
duce such a document. Yet so public had the matter 
become that the young prince was openly believed to 
be a party to a conspiracy to deprive his father of the 
Crown. 

The doctors declared, and rightly, that the Crown 
Prince was afflicted with cancer, and von Bergmann 
said the only chance of saving him was that a danger- 
ous and almost certainly fatal operation should be 
performed, that is to say that the affected portion of the 
larynx should be removed. This would at best have 
caused dumbness, and thus in either case the Prince 
would, according to the Chancellor's ruling, be unfit 
to reign. 

It is needless to say that the Princess was entirely 
opposed to the operation, so von Bergmann decided 
that he must make a further examination, which would 
necessitate the use of anaesthetics. It was whispered 
in Court circles that he was really in the act of begin- 
ning the actual operation when the Crown Princess, 
suspecting his aim, tore the instruments out of his 



374 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

hands and turned him out of the room. A picture of 
the event painted later by Oreste Cortazzo showed 
her kicking the door open for the discomfited doctor's 
exit, he holding his face as though it had been struck. 

Through this dreadful time of trial the Crown 
Princess was in constant communication with her 
mother, and Dr. Morell Mackenzie was sent to Berlin, 
through Victoria's influence and with the acquiescence 
of the German doctors, who did not like the stories 
that were current. His verdict was that the throat was 
cancerous, but that in his opinion it might be cured 
by other means than the knife. Upon this a violent 
storm arose, the one side saying that the Crown Prince 
must die in six months if not operated upon, and the 
other that he would die at once if the operation took 
place. 

So the Princess brought him to England incident- 
ally to make a lasting impression upon the public by 
his gallant bearing and later took him to the Tyrol 
and San Remo. It was not until Emperor William 
died in March 1888, his last words being " dear Fritz," 
that the royal couple returned to the Charlottenberg, 
Berlin. 

Of the awful nightmare of persecution which fol- 
lowed, every sort of mental annoyance being inflicted 
upon the new but dying Kaiser, there is no room here 
to write, but it is said that every one was in terror 
when William came to see his father lest he should 
suggest that he became Regent. And when Frederick 
died in June, after a reign of ninety-nine days, Prince 
William at once showed his true character. He was 




H.R.H. THE PRINCESS ROYAL 
After a painting by Winterhalter 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 375 

present at the last moments in the New Palace, 
Potsdam, to which his father had been moved, and 
as soon as the Emperor had drawn his last breath he 
ordered the guard to be doubled round the palace, 
and no one to be allowed to leave or enter. He then 
declared that all the property of those within, his 
mother, sisters and attendants, was confiscated for the 
time, and he personally "went through" their bed- 
rooms, boudoirs, cupboards, desks, strong boxes, jewel 
boxes and every other receptacle for clothes, articles 
or papers. He told his mother's officials and servants 
that now he was master, and only his orders were to 
be obeyed. He tore up the list of persons who might 
be admitted to look for the last time on the dead 
emperor, which the Empress Frederick had given to 
her chamberlain, and substituted an order for the 
admission of high army officers. In fact, he heaped 
insults upon his dead father and his living mother. 
When the Empress Frederick left her home three 
months later for good, she is reported to have said 
good-bye to her officials and servants with these words, 
" If you ever want to see your old mistress again you 
must come to Berlin, where I will make you welcome. 
May palsy strike my foot if ever I thrust it over this 
threshold again ! " She is said never again to have 
entered the palace in which most of her womanhood 
had been passed. 

Thus did William help to build up a bitter enmity 
between himself and the royal family of England. 

The reason for his search of his mother's home was 
that his father was said to have kept a detailed diary, 



376 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

one volume of which proved conclusively that the 
whole German Emperor idea originated with and was 
planned by Frederick. As Bismarck had arrogated to 
himself all the credit for this, he was keenly anxious 
that the diary should never be given to the world, and 
had instilled into his pupil the necessity of confiscat- 
ing all the volumes for fear of State secrets being 
revealed. None of them was found, however, and one 
story went that Queen Victoria had carried them, 
knowingly or otherwise, to England with her after 
she had visited her daughter at Potsdam in April 1 888 ; 
another was to the effect that Sir Morell Mackenzie 
had brought them to England. 

However, the particular 1870-71 volume had been 
put into the hands of Dr . Geff cken, a friend of 
Frederick's, who published it in a newspaper inimical 
to Bismarck, whereupon the latter brought all his 
Press influence into play by confiscating the offending 
paper, having abusive articles published about the 
dead Kaiser, saying that he was but a nonentity, who 
could never be trusted with knowledge of State affairs 
as he would reveal them to England, and that if the 
diary was genuine he was a traitor to Germany. 
Geffcken was seized and imprisoned, but when he was 
tried by the Imperial Court of Judicature at Leipsic 
on a charge of high treason he was pronounced inno- 
cent, which was the second blow received by Bismarck 
in the new reign. Through all this the young Kaiser 
William by his studied silence showed that he did not 
disapprove of this attack on his father. 

There is a story that among the Queen's possessions 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 377 

after her return from Germany the other volumes of 
the diary were found, and that a year later she sent 
them back to William, with their seals unbroken, an 
act which earned for her her grandson's gratitude, 
and made him revise his determination never to visit 
England. 

After Kaiser Frederick's death William must have 
felt his relations with his mother's country to be 
seriously strained, and, according to his character, put 
the whole burden of fault upon England. The Prince 
of Wales was in Berlin in June and remained there 
for some time, deputed by the Queen to guard his 
sister's interests, and protect her from the insults of 
her son and Bismarck. It was to the latter's interest 
to keep the young Kaiser apart from his mother and 
her family, and to gain this end he once more resorted 
to the Press, causing articles " made in Germany " to 
be inserted in some of the English papers he boasted 
of having captured three of the most important in 
which William was painted in the blackest colours; 
while in Germany he had other articles given to the 
curious world, full of bitter denunciations of the 
Empress Frederick and the Prince of Wales, and to 
cap the affair further inserted in the German papers 
anonymous denunciations of the scandalous things 
said by the English Press. It is almost incredible, 
but it is all to be read in the books upon Bismarck, 
especially in those by his servant Busch, Some Secret 
Pages of His History, and others. A country which 
could produce a powerful man like Bismarck and a 
subservient tool like Busch, congratulating themselves 



378 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and each other with pride over their want of honour, 
was, in spite of its apparent strength, even then on the 
road to failure. It was Busch who noted on June 16 

" I wrote to Bucher a few lines expressing the satis- 
faction I felt that we were relieved of that incubus, 
the Emperor Frederick, and that his place was now 
to be taken by a disciple and admirer of the Chief." 

All these things taken into account, Albert Edward 
had no very easy time in Berlin, especially as no love 
was lost between him and his nephew. As boy and 
youth William had been arrogant and ill-mannered, 
and his uncle had duly snubbed him; as the years 
passed the English prince had seen far more deeply 
into the nature of the German emperor and into his 
plans than the latter liked. He knew the sinister 
hopes and ambitions of the young man's mind, and, 
while not interfering with him, set himself to gain 
friends among the nations for Great Britain. It is to 
him that we owe the beginning of the great change 
in our relations with France, for he loved the French 
capital as much as he shrank from the pomposities 
of Berlin. But this preference and his friendliness 
with other European powers raised unmitigated spite 
and anger which, being cleverly worked by the German 
Press, has led to their present-day stories of how King 
Edward of England tried to set an iron wall around 
the Fatherland. 

For several years after 1888 the Prince of Wales 
and the Kaiser scarcely spoke to each other, but Queen 
Victoria could not so show her displeasure, nor did she 
wish to do so. William was her eldest grandchild, 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 379 

and had been much loved, and she was ready to accept 
what extenuation could be found for his conduct; he 
was not all she wished, but he would make Prussia 
strong, hold fast to the united Germany and be a great 
European power. So, angry as she was at his treat- 
ment of his mother, she yet felt grief that he assumed 
a personally hostile attitude to herself. It was not 
until the autumn of 1899 that, annoyed at the snubs 
which Russia dealt him and already contemplating the 
rupture with Bismarck, William paid his first visit to 
England as ruler of Germany. Victoria was delighted 
and showed him every mark of honour that was 
possible. William on his side was as eager for friend- 
ship, and so began a period of peaceful feeling be- 
tween the two countries which was strengthened by the 
fall of Bismarck the next year. 

It is necessary to go back in time, for there was 
another dispute in 1887 and the following year which 
had for its parties Queen Victoria and her daughter, 
the Crown Princess, on the one hand, and Bismarck 
and Prince William on the other. This was over 
Alexander of Battenberg, and the wonder was that the 
Crown Princess should have championed one of that 
family. However, her excuse was that her daughter 
Victoria was very much in love and had won her 
consent. 

This daughter, Victoria, was said to be the least 
attractive and least popular of the Prussian royal 
children, but at her cousin's wedding at Darmstadt 
the Hesse-Battenberg marriage she had fallen in love 
with Alexander Battenberg, then Prince of Bulgaria, 



380 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

who was regarded as the most handsome and fascinat- 
ing man in Europe. His Bulgarian throne had col- 
lapsed in 1886, and he, without position or fortune, 
went to live in Darmstadt, his one ambition being to 
return to his position in the Prussian army. Then 
came the chance of marrying into the Prussian royal 
family, and though he must have been ready to seize 
it with delight, there must also have been some strong 
misgivings mixed with his emotion. 

Queen Victoria accepted the idea eagerly, for, as has 
been said, she loved a romance, and she also had a 
strong partiality for the Battenbergs. Bismarck, to 
whom neither reasons appealed, was dead against such 
a match, and with some cause, but he was wrong in 
regarding the Queen's approval of it simply as a 
diplomatic attempt to spite Russia by making Prussia 
pick up the man whom Russia had cast down from the 
Bulgarian throne. However, that was the attitude he 
took, adding that Victoria was trying to injure Prussia 
by causing a rupture with the power which he had so 
long wooed. 

The matter dragged through some contentious 
months, and in April 1888 the Chancellor thus 
delivered himself to Busch 

' The old Queen is fond of matchmaking like all 
old women and she may have selected Prince 
Alexander for her granddaughter because he is a 
brother to her son-in-law, the husband of her favourite 
daughter Beatrice. But obviously her main objects 
are political a permanent estrangement between our- 
selves and Russia and if she should come here for 



THE CROWN PRINCESS 381 

the Princess's birthday there would be the greatest 
danger that she would get her way. In family matters 
she is not accustomed to contradiction, and would 
immediately bring the parson with her in her travelling 
bag and the bridegroom in her trunk, and the marriage 
would come off at once." 

He declared, concerning the suffering Emperor 
Frederick, " They (the Empress and her daughter 
Victoria) actually ill-treated, abused and martyred him 
when he declined (to consent to the marriage). He is 
glad that I have come to his assistance, as she (the 
Empress) is too much for him in argument." Dr. 
Mackenzie, who also was at Charlottenburg at the time, 
remarked of it, " I cannot say that this discussion 
produced much effect on the Emperor." 

Bismarck gave Busch instructions to write an article 
for the Grenzboten, with the title " Foreign Influence 
in the Empire," setting forth his views on the sug- 
gested marriage and attacking the Empress as tyran- 
nizing over her husband, and a few days later 
expressed in the Berlinger Boersen Zeitung his 
abhorrence of the Grenzboten article. 

The old Emperor William had been as much against 
the marriage as his Chancellor, but after his death 
Queen Victoria suggested that the wedding should 
take place at Windsor, and that the new Battenberg 
couple should live " elsewhere than in Germany." The 
trousseau was ready, the day fixed and almost arrived, 
when Alexander, who had probably realized that he 
would never again sup with Prussian officers, or indeed 
enter Prussia, and who had also most probably received 



382 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a strong hint from his prospective brother-in-law, 
decided that the world was not well lost for love, and 
wrote to the Crown Princess saying that he had come 
to the conclusion that he could only marry if he had 
the consent of Prince William. There may have been 
other influences at work to cause the writing of this 
letter, for Victoria, who had been in Florence in 
March, and gone thence in April to Charlottenburg, 
met Bismarck there. Busch tells in his diary what 
happened. 

" April 28. This afternoon met Bucher. He said, 
smiling, ' I have just heard a surprising piece of news. 
Grandmamma behaved quite sensibly at Charlotten- 
burg. She declared the attitude of the Chief in the 
Battenberg marriage scheme to be quite correct, and 
urged her daughter to change her ways. Of course it 
was very nice of her not to forget her own country, 
and to wish to benefit it when it was possible for her to 
do so, but she needed the attachment of the Germans, 
and should endeavour to secure it; and finally she 
brought about a reconciliation between Prince William 
and his mother.' 

" I asked, ' Have you that on good authority? ' 

" ' On very good authority.' 

" ' Well, that is satisfactory ... we do not hate 
Victoria on account of her extraction, but because she 
feels as an Englishwoman, and wishes to promote 
English interests at our expense, and because she 
despises us Germans/ ' 

When the Queen went to Charlottenburg this April, 
1888, the Crown Princess showed some of that tact- 



383 

lessness which so much annoyed the Berliners, for, 
wanting to refurnish the rooms destined for her mother, 
she sent to England for all that she needed, and, 
further, had English workmen sent over to do the 
decoration. It was naturally deeply resented, and it 
was feared that some hostile demonstration might be 
made against Victoria. This did not happen, but 
Prince William behaved so coldly to his grandmother 
that she could plainly see the attitude of him and his 
friends. 

Yet the Germans should not have been so much hurt, 
for they had little courtesy, as was shown once when 
the Crown Princess said of a dog, "Ah, he is a 
bad dog, he bit a child," and the prompt response 
was, " Nein Kaiserliche Hoheit, ein erwachsenes 
Madchen ! " 

As for the principals in this marriage question, the 
young Princess Victoria married Prince Adolphus of 
Schaumberg-Lippe, and in 1889 Prince Alexander 
married when at Nice an actress, Mile. Losinger, 
the daughter of the valet and the cook of the old 
Austrian General Faviani. Later the Prince aban- 
doned both title and status in favour of the title of 
Count Hartenau, became a colonel in an Austrian 
regiment, and died as major-general in command of a 
brigade at Gratz in 1893. 

Queen Victoria heard of his marriage with sorrow 
rather than with anger, merely saying with a sigh, 
" Perhaps they loved one another." 



CHAPTER XXIII 

IMPERIAL GROWTH 

"Dere's grandma dinks she's nicht small beer, 

Mit Boers und such she interfere; 
She'll learn none owns dis hemisphere, 
But Me und Gott. 

She dinks, good frau, some ships she's got, 

Und soldiers mit der scarlet goat. 
Ach ! We could knock dem ! Poof ! Like dot, 

Myself mit Gott." 

A. McGregor Rose. 1897. 

As some one has put it, under Lord Salisbury's 
political guardianship the Queen could sleep in peace ; 
upon him had fallen the mantle of Beaconsfield so far 
as Victoria's favour went, though, honestly, Salisbury 
showed little veneration for his predecessor, whom he 
regarded as divided from himself by class and race. 
Salisbury had won his election on a " No Coercion " 
cry, thereby securing the adhesion of the Irish mem- 
bers. But he was an advocate of tradition, a champion 
of conservatism and aristocracy. He had fought each 
one of Gladstone's reforms with all his strength, 
whether in the suffrage, the Church or the Army. 
When Disraeli " dished the Whigs " by bringing in 
his Reform Bill of 1867, Salisbury resigned rather 
than be associated with it. He had none of Disraeli's 

plasticity, none of his sympathy for the workers which 

384 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 385 

made him once say, when talking of the narrow, selfish 
ways of many Whig and Tory landed proprietors who 
'made their class hated by excluding the people from 
their parks and demesnes, " I for one cannot and will 
not do anything so absurd." But even one so steeped 
in the past as the new Prime Minister had to bend 
to the living forces of the time and accept Joseph 
Chamberlain as a colleague. This one-time ultra- 
Radical had rapidly assimilated the new Imperialism; 
he was a fighter, and power pleased his senses, and 
it was his imperialism which made him refuse to 
Ireland what he had been so anxious to give his own 
countrymen, a measure of justice and self-rule. 

The Queen and her advisers, then, were in accord, 
and Disraeli's cry of a world-power seemed to be 
taking shape in fact. Indeed, after her Jubilee 
Victoria found herself much nearer that ideal than 
she had hoped ever to be when Beaconsfield died. 
Princes had come from all quarters of the globe to 
do her homage; her name was the link which bound 
the far ends of the earth together. 

Yet there was one little country the people of which 
had refused to bow the knee to her greatness, and 
that was Ireland. Starved in every way, its manu- 
factures destroyed, railways refused to it, its people 
left to the bitterest oppression of the exploiter, Ireland 
stood, sullen and defiant, while all the world knelt on 
that fine June day in 1887; for Ireland regarded its 
queen as its enemy. 

Those who lived in comfort in England, who 
had no knowledge of all the conditions in Ireland 
cc 



386 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

conditions very different from those of Ulster were 
aghast, and had no pity when the Government 
changed its tactics and declared for coercion of the 
most stringent type. Nearly three thousand families 
were cast roofless upon the roadside; and the terrible 
injustice of Mitchelstown, which occurred in September 
1887, leaves a permanent blot upon the record of the 
then Irish Secretary. In this tragedy the slaughter 
of three Irishmen was finally left as though it had 
been the slaughter of three dogs, and it, with the 
evictions, gave birth to the second popular English 
movement in favour of Ireland which has, at long last, 
culminated in the present Home Rule Act. For the 
people know, what biassed rulers will not recognize, 
that unreproved violence by servants of the State 
means injustice; they themselves have suffered from 
it. Yet in England Chamberlain was allowed to gain 
for his countrymen the County Councils and the 
possession of allotments, while other isolated reforms 
took place which showed that the Conservatives were 
beginning to know the value of popular support. 

The writer of the article in The Quarterly Review 
asserts that her Majesty "desired almost passionately 
to be loved by the Irish"; a statement which makes 
one dumb with surprise, for during a reign of sixty- 
four years she made no effort to understand the people 
or their conditions; for forty years from 1859 to 
1899 she refused to go near their shores; she was 
always ready to apply the rod and unwilling to give 
any kiss of peace. 

If in the end she did desire the affection of those 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 387 

people, it is one of the tragedies of her life that she 
did not earlier wake up to the possibilities of the sister 
isle, that the mellowing of her heart came too late. 
It is also a proof that the Queen Victoria of 1899 was 
a totally different person from the Queen of 1861. 
She had learned at last to trust and love her English 
subjects, and perhaps, had it only happened earlier, 
she would have found means to know and then to 
love her Irish subjects also. As it is, it cannot be a 
matter for surprise that Queen Victoria never gained 
the love of the Irish. 

For the fourteen years that remained to her from 
the Jubilee the Queen set herself to secure the English. 
She did not change her long-cherished plans, but still 
paid three visits a year to Osborne, two to Balmoral, 
and a month abroad, which left her little time for 
Windsor and practically none for London. But 
London had grown used to this, and relied upon the 
Princess of Wales to organize " the season " and so 
keep society going. 

On her journeys Victoria would go hither and 
thither, laying foundation-stones, reviewing troops, 
opening hospitals and town halls, christening or 
launching battleships, such as the Royal Sovereign 
and the Royal Arthur, visiting large towns in England 
and Scotland, such as Manchester, Sheffield, Derby, 
Paisley, Glasgow, etc. Bristol also she went to, when 
the spirit of love and forgiveness had become a habit 
with her, in 1899; for Bristol had been shunned by 
her since the early years of her reign, as it had refused 
to welcome a German prince as her husband. In 1899 



388 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

she visited the principality of Wales, Sir Henry 
Robertson lending her Pale Hall, near Lake Bala, 
whence she went to see the Theodore Martins, who 
lived in the neighbourhood. 

Sir Theodore Martin, like many of those who had 
had much personal intercourse with their Queen, has 
told much about her that it is pleasant to know; in 
his case it is enshrined in a little volume, Queen 
Victoria as I Knew Her. Once, when at Osborne 
on a wintry January day he had hurt his leg on the 
skating-pond, and had to keep his room for a con- 
siderable time. As soon as the Queen knew of the 
accident she telegraphed for Martin's wife (the one- 
time famous Shakespearean actress, Helena Faucit), 
and sent the royal yacht to fetch her. The next morn- 
ing her Majesty went to see the injured man, and 
after leaving him it occurred to her that he did not 
look comfortable, so she sent a servant with two large 
pillows for his use. It was Theodore Martin who, on 
March 7, 1875, found the Queen in tears "and moved 
to a degree that was distressing to witness/' for Sir 
Arthur Helps had died from a chill caught at the 
Prince of Wales's levee. Her first thought was for 
his family, and how the embarrassments from which 
they might surfer could be lightened. 

While in Wales those few days she did her best to 
charm the people who saw her, even to the extent 
of learning sufficient Welsh to thank in their own 
language a party of men who presented her with a 
walking-stick of native wood. 

Wherever she went she pursued an active policy 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 389 

of giving as well as receiving pleasure, for, like little 
Kay in the Snow Queen, the piece of glass in her heart 
had at last melted and she was again human, and more 
like the girl-queen of 1837 than she had been since her 
marriage. 

If only it had happened before those lost years 
were spent there would be no two opinions about 
Queen Victoria. As it was she had not time enough 
left her to catch up with neglected opportunities. 
English jealousy of her love for Scotland and 
Germany had been allowed too long a life to be 
permanently overcome by her old-age repentance or 
growth of kindliness. Those who knew her and whom 
she liked, ladies who received her charmingly sympa- 
thetic letters of condolence, still adore her memory; 
a great proportion of the nation see her faults rather 
than her virtues, a large proportion have no interest 
in her at all, and a few repeat the old cry of her great 
goodness and wisdom. On the whole, judgment about 
the Queen must be regarded as suspended. 

There was one more disagreeable matter up to which 
she felt that she had to screw her courage, and that 
was an endeavour to persuade the nation to allot main- 
tenance to the third generation of her family. These 
incidents become wearisome by repetition, and I should 
like to pass this by, but it has to be related that this 
part of her life may be rounded off. Albert Victor was 
twenty-five that year, and Princess Louise of Wales 
was about to marry the Duke of Fife, who had for a 
couple of years been persona grata at Court. The dear 
lady had in England twenty-two grandchildren beside, 



390 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

most of them threatened with loss of income on the 
death of their parents. 

So once more the Queen girded on her armour, 
determined to get the whole matter settled at one 
stroke, and asked Salisbury to make an arrangement 
which should automatically pension each grandchild 
as occasion needed, and hinted that the same sum 
should be given to the second generation as to the 
first; that is, 15,000 each a year to the boys, and 
6000, with a marriage portion of 30,000, to the 
girls. 

Salisbury could not indeed, dared not suggest 
such a course, and the discussion was started in Par- 
liament by the reading of the two messages from the 
Queen concerning Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, 
and the Princess Louise. 

At once all the old arguments arose, less noisy, but 
stronger and deeper, than before; for Bradlaugh was 
at hand, with his long-advocated republicanism, his 
denunciation of the extravagance and wastefulness of 
keeping a Court. Labouchere, too, had weight, and 
John Morley lent dignity to the expostulations. Brad- 
laugh wanted to refer the whole question of royal 
revenues to a committee for reconsideration, arguing 
that the royal savings on the Civil List would amply 
provide for all the grandchildren. This amendment 
was lost, but 125 members voted for it. Gradually 
the demand was lessened, the Queen withdrawing 
those for her daughters' children, and then those for 
the children of her younger sons; but at last it was 
only through the mediation of Gladstone, who was 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 891 

anxious to save the Monarchy from any further criti- 
cism and dispute, that the ministers modified the 
proposal to granting a sum of 36,000 annually to 
the Prince of Wales for the support of his children. 
Even this met with opposition from the Radicals, 
Labouchere demanding a peremptory refusal to the 
making of any grant to the grandchildren at all, and 
his amendment to this effect gained 116 supporters. 
A further amendment by John Morley ensuring 
finality by declaring that no further demands could 
be made was lost by 355 to 134. Lord Selborne 
saw in all this ominous signs of a recrudescence of 
republicanism. It would have been more correct to 
have judged that republicanism had quietly grown 
stronger through the years owing to the constant 
demands made by the sovereign, accompanied by her 
neglect of her people. 

Now that the order of things has changed, and 
there is less royal interference with the Government, 
few people trouble about republicanism, though its 
theoretical supporters may have greatly increased; 
but the popular sentiment of independence is stronger 
than ever, and if any ruler of Britain suddenly 
assumed arbitrary power the Conservatives themselves 
would be among those resenting it; they, too, would 
show themselves republican. 

The grants made in 1889 were subject to this 
restriction, that they should continue only until six 
months after her Majesty's death, for naturally then 
different arrangements would have to be made. With 
this conclusion the Queen, though only half pleased, 



392 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

declared herself satisfied, and it is amusing to note 
that while the negotiations were pending, and Glad- 
stone, as usual, was doing his best for his sovereign, 
she sent friendly congratulations to him on his golden 
wedding day; the Prince and Princess of Wales did 
the same, accompanying them with a present. 

As a last word on money matters and the Queen's 
ability to see after her grandchildren it may be as well 
to state what her income was at the time. 

The Duchy of Lancaster, which had been a neg- 
ligible factor when her first Civil List was arranged, 
producing only ,5000 a year, now brought in 60,000, 
a small part of which went in administration of the 
estates. There was also 60,000 from the Civil List, 
and all the income from investments and shares, house 
and landed property which she had secured through 
savings on the Civil List. During these last debates 
it was officially stated that the total savings on the 
Civil List only amounted to 824,025, and that out 
of this much had been spent on entertaining foreign 
visitors; in fact, the actual amount which had been 
put to the Queen's credit was 653,000, a sum which, 
laid out at interest, could scarcely be regarded as 
despicable. In addition to this there were the legacy 
of a quarter of a million left her by John Camden 
Neild, other smaller legacies from subjects, and the 
sum the Queen inherited under the will of the Prince 
Consort, which popular report said was nearly a 
million pounds, though this must have been a great 
exaggeration. Truly Labouchere had some justifica- 
tion for inviting the special committee to record its 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 393 

opinion that it was undesirable to prejudice any final 
decisions by granting allowances or annuities to any 
of the grandchildren of the sovereign. 

Sir H. W. Lucy, in Later Pee-ps at Parliament ', 
states that he was told by one in authority that the 
Queen's personality did not exceed at her death the 
sum of 800,000; and this might well be if she had 
already made the promised provision for her de- 
scendants, and she had certainly done much for her 
children. 

During the last years of her Court, when compara- 
tive social gaiety was observed, the royal household 
expenses were increased; and it is said that she had 
become so mellowed that she made up deficiencies in 
some departments from her privy purse. It was a pity 
that occasional evidences of generosity were not given 
to the public by Victoria, for there was a strong 
popular belief that she had become miserly, which 
was strengthened by the fact that neither during the 
Jubilee of 1887 nor that of 1897 did she show any 
gratitude for a long life of unbounded opportunity 
by dispensing money of her own in any good cause. 
Her small habits of strict economy lasted to the end 
of her life, and little payments for work done which 
had been considered adequate in 1861 were so con- 
sidered in 1901. 

As an instance of this, a covering cloth was used 
for the donkey which drew the Queen's chair, to be 
thrown over him when standing still, which cloth was 
bound all round with black braid. When the braid 
was worn a poor woman of Windsor was employed 






394 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to renew it and to re-work the royal monogram in the 
corner, for which she never received more than one 
and sixpence. Of course, a thing like this might 
never come to the personal knowledge of the Queen, 
yet she was so precise about details, so observant of 
everything around her, that those about Windsor who 
knew of royal habits would not believe but that such 
things were governed by her Majesty's wishes. 

During the parliamentary debate the tremendous 
expenditure incurred by the royal yachts was again 
urged, and H. W. Lucy gives in his book interesting 
information concerning three of them. The little 
Elfin, built at a charge of only 6000 early in the 
reign, cost yearly such a sum that in 1900 it was 
estimated that 500 a ton had been spent over it; a 
man-of-war would in the same period have cost 80 
a ton. The Victoria and Albert, built in 1855, cost 
originally 176,820, but, apart from wages of the crew 
and supply of stores, the nation had subsequently paid 
12,000 a year for it, which brought the total expense 
to nearly three-quarters of a million. The Alberta 
was built in 1863, being quickly followed by the 
Osborne, the initial charge for the latter being 
134,000, and the annual expenditure for her being 
8000. In addition to this there was the Fairy. Yet, 
possessing all these, it was announced in the papers 
late in 1895 that a new yacht was to be built for the 
Queen's use, assurance being given that no attempt 
would be made to rival the floating palace of the 
Kaiser. As Victoria had by that time lost her nerve 
on the water, this may not have been true, though, 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 395 

on the other hand, it may have shown a desire for 
something especially steady and safe. 

The troublesome matter of the royal incomes being 
at last swept from her life, the Queen turned to more 
stately things. In August 1889 she received for the 
second time as a guest the Shah of Persia, and later 
came her nephew, William II of Prussia, on a visit. 

There were wheels within wheels to bring about 
the imperial meeting. Before he had been Kaiser a 
month William had rushed off without invitation 
to Russia, desiring to prove not only his severance 
from England, but that he could bring about the 
longed-for Russian entente. He was not received too 
warmly, and afterwards he waited in vain for a return 
visit from the Tsar. Meanwhile, during the next 
twelve months, he was trying to prove, first to himself 
and then to the world, who was really master of 
Prussia he or Bismarck. Knowing the jealousy 
between Russia and England and the hatred of 
Bismarck for all that was British, he then determined 
to flout both the Tsar and his Chancellor by discover- 
ing an elaborate warmth of friendship for his grand- 
mother and her country. So he steamed away from 
Germany, much to Bismarck's anger, in his beautiful 
yacht, the H ohenzollern, at the head of a dozen new 
warships, to Portsmouth Harbour. 

He was received with open arms, and promptly 
created an admiral of the English Fleet, whereupon 
he solemnly made his grandmother a colonel of 
dragoons, re-naming the regiment " The Queen of 
England's Own." He also held out the olive branch 



396 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to his uncle the Prince of Wales by gazetting him a 
colonel in the Prussian Army. It was a merry farce 
of compliments on the one side, for the Queen never 
rode at the head of her dragoons, nor did the Prince 
of Wales ever lead his Prussian regiment. The 

o 

Emperor regarded his new honour somewhat differ- 
ently, for when he went to Athens in the following 
October to be present at the marriage of his sister with 
Prince Constantine of Greece he steamed into the 
^Egean Sea with the British admiral's flag flying at his 
yacht's masthead, and prosecuted what he fancied to 
be the duties of a British admiral with greater zeal than 
discretion. For a British squadron was in the bay, 
and he would descend upon it at all unearthly hours, 
order the men up for parade, inspect uniforms, stores 
and the condition of the ships in a way which raised 
the anger of the officers and men alike, so that at last 
a complaint was sent to the Admiralty by the former. 
As some one said, " If he would just wear the uniform 
and let it end there we should not mind; but we did 
not make him an admiral that our lives might be 
worried out of us in this fashion." 

William was by this and subsequent visits fired with 
fresh enthusiasm for his own fleet, and cogitated 
methods of securing advantage for it. Thus when 
Anglo-French-German disputes arose over territory 
in Africa, he was ready in 1890 to forgo his purely 
nominal authority in Zanzibar for definite possession 
of Heligoland. His grandmother could deny him 
nothing, and though Lord Salisbury has generally 
been blamed for losing this rocky yet valuable little 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 397 

island, the act was the Queen's, who did not suspect 
the astuteness of the policy which not only gained for 
Germany a much stronger naval base, but ousted the 
British from a spot too near to Kiel. And the Ger- 
mans say now that this European war of 1914 and 1915 
could never have taken place but for the possession 
of Heligoland ! 

It is forgivable to feel some satisfaction in knowing 
that that hard man Bismarck, who had cast off so 
many, friend and foe alike, when he could squeeze 
nothing more out of them, went begging at the last 
to the woman whose life he had done his best to 
mar, the Empress Frederick, not knowing that she had 
helped in his undoing. Finding that her son was 
rebelling against the autocracy of his Chancellor, she 
had drawn him once more under the influence of his 
old tutor Hinzpeter, whose whole nature was opposed 
to the ruthlessness of Bismarck ; and so she had helped 
to make the breach final. Bismarck, catching at every 
straw, went so far as to inspire an article in one of our 
great " dailies " upon the admiration he felt for the 
Empress; and he went to ask her intercession, remind- 
ing her of a service he had done her though he did 
not recall that it was at her husband's orders two 
years earlier. She, whom he had persecuted for more 
than thirty years, whose home he had filled with his 
spies, whose son he had alienated, whose adopted 
country he had turned in hatred against her, could do 
nothing to soften the blow to him. 

In this crisis Bismarck knew no reticence. He 
showed only too plainly his mortification, and loudly 



398 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

demanded that every one should know that he went 
from his post against his will. Visitors who called 
to take leave of him were entertained by Princess 
Bismarck's denunciations of the Kaiser 

' The brat, the stupid brat ! " she cried over and 
over again. 

Punch published its noted cartoon of " Dropping 
the Pilot," which highly delighted .William, and Bis- 
marck said bitterly that the Kaiser saw in it a justifica- 
tion of his action. 

Though the Kaiser revisited England every year 
until 1896 he was already meditating how and when 
he could use his new fleet, and keeping a sharp eye 
on Africa, ready to pounce upon any chance of a 
colony. As an American, Pulteney Bigelow, said in 
1891, "Germany waits from day to day to mobilize 
her troops and march to the frontier." From that 
time for five years William was intriguing in South 
Africa, and Europe looked on with some amusement, 
for Britain had been so successful in land-grabbing 
that a little trouble for her was regarded as legitimate. 
Great Britain claimed suzerainty over the Transvaal, 
but the Kaiser practically recognized its independence, 
in spite of the Pretoria Convention of 1881 and the 
London Convention of 1884. In the troubles which 
followed Germany was regarded as the warm friend 
of the Boers, and a banquet was given among the 
leading Boers in honour of the Kaiser's birthday in 
January 1895, at which Kruger referred in glowing 
words to William, saying that the friendship of Ger- 
many for his nation would in the future be more firmly 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 399 

established than ever. There is no doubt that, 
England being the one whom Kruger hated, he 
expected the help of William in getting rid of its 
control. The knowledge of this reached England, of 
course, and Chamberlain felt it necessary to announce 
that the conventions would be adhered to, and in May 
Tongoland and Kosi Bay were annexed, which shut 
the Boers from the sea. This may seem arbitrary, 
but though the Boers had long had the chance of 
securing Kosi Bay they had refused to comply with 
the necessary conditions. The result of this was that 
England and Portugal joined up on the east coast of 
Africa at a point which the Germans were beginning 
to consider specially necessary to themselves, and the 
annexation was made specially to prevent Germany 
from having a spot at which she could land troops 
in aid of the Boers, and where she could secure the 
rights over the Delagoa railway. 

William made overtures to Russia to aid him in 
his championship of the Boers, and Russia turned her 
back on him; France refused to become ally to her 
enemy, so he approached Portugal, haughtily demand- 
ing that his troops should land in Delagoa Bay on 
their way to Pretoria. And he did all this, imagining 
that at his word Britain would waive her suzerainty 
over the Transvaal, although more than half the 
inhabitants were European, possessing nine-tenths of 
the country's wealth and half the land. 

The cause of dispute between the Boers and the 
Uitlanders, or Europeans, was comprehensible enough. 
The Boers cared nothing for gold, diamonds or mines ; 



400 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

they wanted to farm their land and to be left in 
peace and in patriarchal family squalor. Europeans 
insisted upon digging mines, making railways, and 
otherwise upsetting the land-dwellers; so the latter 
put every possible difficulty in the way of the former. 
To the English land-grabber in distant lands rights 
of property do not exist, except for himself, and it 
cannot be expected that he should be treated gently. 
The Boers did what they could to protect themselves : 
they allowed the strangers no political rights, seeing 
a definite swamping for themselves if they did so; 
they secured monopolies of all important things 
necessary for the miners, such as fuel, petrol, etc., 
and made their enemies pay through the nose; they 
taxed the Uitlanders to extinction, allowed them no 
schools for their children, and bound them so tightly 
hand and foot as to make their lives unbearable. I 
am stating facts, not upholding ethics for one side or 
the other. This struggle, pushed to extremes, could 
only end in war, and Cecil Rhodes, then Prime 
Minister of Cape Colony, made the first move towards 
the reopening of the conflict which had been closed 
by Gladstone in 1883. He, with Dr. Jameson and 
Alfred Beit, laid a plan of invasion, by which the two 
latter were to cross the border and join up with 
Uitlanders in Johannesburg. Delay was, however, 
necessary, as arms and men were not ready, but 
Jameson had the adventure in his blood and started 
against orders. He and his men fell into the Boers' 
hands, and the Jameson Raid was a foregone failure. 
Upon this the Queen's grandson William sent an 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 401 

open telegram to Kruger congratulating him that 
"'without appealing to the help of friendly Powers" 
he had repelled the invasion. Of course, every one 
knew that he meant himself by " friendly Powers," 
and England was wild with anger against him over 
this folly, so the Queen wrote her beloved young 
relative a stiff letter, such as she could write when 
moved, pointing out that his interference in South 
Africa would most assuredly mean war. As William 
was not then ready for war he climbed down, ordered 
his newspapers to explain the incident away and 
express surprise that the English Press should have 
made so much over so little. When Kruger went to 
Berlin later, and for the second time, William refused 
to see him. 

From that point there was some bitterness between 
Victoria and the Kaiser, though both of them diplo- 
matically tried to hide that fact. When returning 
from Nice that spring Victoria came through Ger- 
many, that she might meet her grandson and assure 
him that her neglect to return his visits was not due 
to indifference, as he had suggested; but she did not 
go to Berlin. William, on his part, sent her a present 
in the summer, perhaps with a sly hint of menace 
behind it ; for it took the form of a fountain fashioned 
as an eagle flapping its wings, the water issuing 
through its beak so that it looked as though flying 
rough spray. It was set up in a little garden near 
other fountain presented by Emperor William I, 
d one feels that the Prussian eagle seemingly flying 
rough Windsor gardens was somewhat ominous. 

D D 



402 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Kaiser William did not come to England again 
until 1899, and it has been said that he never came 
without squeezing something out of his grandmother. 
That year he obtained an island in the Samoan group 
probably with a view to making raids on Australia 
and New Zealand. The cartoonists got to work over 
this, and Figaro gave a picture of the Queen cutting 
for him a large slice off a plum pudding named the 
World, William, dressed as a sailor, running eagerly 
for it. Another drawing showed him wiping her eyes 
with a handkerchief labelled Delagoa Bay, while out 
of his pocket protruded a treaty with the word Samoa 
upon it. 

Cecil Rhodes came to London in 1896 to face the 
music caused by the Jameson raid, and a great speech 
was expected ; but four days later he left, having said 
no word in public. During that short period he was 
summoned to Windsor. It was the second time that 
he had had an audience of the Queen. The first 
time was in 1891, when he dined and slept at 
Windsor and had a long talk with her Majesty over 
South African affairs, during which she showed an 
astonishingly intimate knowledge of the country. 
After he had gone some one remarked to the Queen 
that he was a great woman-hater, upon which she 
replied, with her delightful simplicity I hope she 
felt a touch of humour in making such a reply " Oh, 
he was very kind to me ! " 

To the second interview Rhodes went in "a state 
of awful funk," says Mr. Harry Furniss in his book, 
Harry Furniss at Home; but he received only a mild 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 403 

remonstrance, much to his surprise, for he had ex- 
pected a severe scolding, and he looked uncommonly 
relieved. The Queen in her heart was glad that the 
South African matter was being reopened, and that 
at last there was a chance of reversing the earlier 
policy. 

There is a story of another South African million- 
aire, evidently a German, being received by Victoria, 
to whom she said 

" Sind sie ein Baier? " 

He, being confused and perhaps not expecting to 
be addressed in German, replied, " Not at present 
prices, ma'am." 

In 1898 there occurred a new cause of trouble 
between the English Court and the Kaiser, one which 
is not likely to appear in the history books. When 
Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg died in 1893 the Queen's 
second son, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, took pos- 
session of the little German principality and went to 
live there, giving up the allowance of 15,000 made 
by our Parliament, but retaining the extra 10,000 
allotted to him on his marriage. He had one son, 
Alfred, who would have succeeded him had he not 
fallen into the Kaiser's power. 

From the day he ascended his throne the Kaiser 
assumed despotic authority over all his relations, 
interfering in their domestic affairs and ordering their 
goings out and their comings in. One instance of 
this is fairly well known. Princess Frederick Leopold, 
sister to the present Kaiserin, went skating with only 
one lady in attendance, and, getting on to thin ice, 



404 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

fell in, being promptly rescued. William, on hearing 
of it, immediately ordered the punishment of Prince 
Frederick for allowing his wife so much liberty. 
Neither Prince nor Princess was allowed to leave 
their house for a certain number of days, and all lights 
were to be put out in their rooms at eight o'clock 
every evening, as though they were two naughty 
children. 

When he found that a young cousin of his own 
was to live in Coburg, William demanded that the 
education of the boy should be given over to him, 
and had him brought to Berlin away from his family. 
Once having Alfred there, he placed him in a military 
circle and forgot him. No motherly or fatherly control 
was exercised by the Imperial couple, and being left 
entirely to his own devices he got into bad company, 
was fleeced by gamblers, slipped heavily into debt, 
and lost both his reputation and his health. Learning 
something of all this, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg went 
to Berlin and plucked his son away into what he hoped 
was safety. It was too late, however; the young man 
died shortly after, in February 1899, at Meran, of 
phthisis. So says the biographer, but the report at 
the time was that he had shot himself. 

An heir being needed for the Saxe-Coburg throne, j: 
the Duke of Connaught was named. At first he 
accepted the prospect, but on second thoughts, and [ 
considering his own young son in connection with 
his Prussian nephew's peculiarities, he decided that 
the risk was too great; and so he, with the Queen's 
strong approval, refused the chance of reigning over 



IMPERIAL GROWTH 405 

his father's country. Connaught had been Victoria's 
favourite son since the death of the Duke of Albany, 
and she wished to lose him as little as she wished 
another grandson to share the fate of Alfred. Eventu- 
ally the boy Duke of Albany was appointed heir, 
there being then every reason to hope that it would 
be many years before he would take his place in 
Germany. To-day he is fighting against those who 
nurtured and brought him up. 

There was another prince who, for the same reason, 
held aloof from Berlin, and that was the Duke of 
Cumberland, who, but for Bismarck, would have been 
King of Hanover. Because he had no wish to see 
his son delivered over to the mercies of the Kaiser 
he resolutely refused all Prussian invitations to forgive 
the injury of 1866. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 

" Through it all stood out his old conservatism in the truest 
sense of the word : his devotion to old traditions and constitu- 
tional forms ; his loyalty to the Crown ; while with this devotion 
was joined a courtesy most reverential to the Queen and an 
affection for the royal family which was most touching 1 ." 
'Recollections, 1832 to 1886.' By the Right Hon. Sir 
Algernon West, K.C.B. 

" I observe that it is now universally the fashion to speak of 
the first personage in the state as the great obstacle of the 
measure." 'Peter Plymley's Letters.' By Sydney Smith. 

FOR six years the Queen was happy politically, and 
then a new Government was elected with a Liberal 
and Irish majority of forty only. It was most discon- 
certing to Victoria, who, hoping against hope that 
something might happen to save the situation, com- 
manded Lord Salisbury not to resign until Parliament 
met. So he submitted himself to the inevitable pass- 
ing in the House of a vote of want of confidence, and 
the next morning must have read in the Court Circular 
with some surprise, as did the rest of the world, that 
the Queen accepted his resignation " with great regret.' 
In one sense she never could remember that she w 
Queen not only of the Conservatives but of all Eng- 
lish people, or if she remembered it she was indifferent 

to the anger which such acts as these raised amon^ 

406 



407 

half her subjects. This Parliament lasted only three 
and a half years, until June 1895, an d it accomplished 
little, though never had more strenuous labour or more 
careful thought been given to the affairs of the country. 
The man in the street knew that the Queen would 
welcome anything which would render that labour and 
thought ineffective, and expressed himself in elation or 
bitter disgust according to the side he took ; the mem- 
bers of the Commons knew exactly what her feelings 
were, and opposition became simply obstruction, any 
trick of noise or subtlety being resorted to face down 
the Ministry or discredit the ministers. 

The Lords were almost at the pinnacle of their pride, 
and felt that the real power of government lay in their 
hands. The Home Rule Bill passed its third reading 
in the Commons by a small majority of thirty-four, 
which gave them their coveted opportunity. We still 
call it a fight over Home Rule, but in reality Home 
Rule mattered little except as a symbol. It was an 
elemental fight between Imperial-Jingoism and reason, 
between pride of dominance and love of force on the 
one hand and progressive tendency on the other. 
Queen Victoria had, in fact, lost her balance over 
Gladstone, seeing in him a wolf waiting to gobble 
up her kingdom, and so she deliberately set herself 
at the head of a party her party. She had never 
been reticent about those whom she liked or disliked, 
and she plainly told every one whom she spoke with 
or wrote to, what she thought of the bill and its pro- 
jector. She led the Church, the Army, the Conserva- 
tives, all whose ideals were of dominance and power; 



408 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and the Lords, dear people, realized with exhilaration 
that for once they had a free hand, that no diplomacy 
of compromise or mediation would be resorted to this 
time by their sovereign. They seized the occasion 
with joy, and when this Home Rule Bill, this figment 
of things of much greater moment, passed into their 
hands, they incontinently slew it, and, to quote from 
a nonsense rhyme, "cast its reeking fragments on 
the air." 

What revellings there were, and what language ! I 
remember being told over the breakfast-table not my 
own by an avowed upholder of Church and State, 
that if he could only sit there and watch Gladstone's 
body hanging from the tree before his window he 
would be happy, and would thoroughly enjoy his 
breakfast. His eye gleamed with desire as he spoke. 
He was a type of the extremist party in the struggle. 
One proof that this struggle had nothing in reality 
to do with Home Rule was that this excess of feeling 
was evoked not only by the mention of Ireland, but by 
the mere name of Gladstone, and in connection with 
every act of his Government. Thus an Employer's 
Liability Bill in cases of accident, and a parish council 
measure, both of them of great importance, were as 
bitterly withstood as the Irish Bill, and thrown out by 
the Lords in the same way. These unreasoning acts 
were the beginning of the downfall of the Lords. 

Gladstone had overcome the opposition in the 
Commons with his marvellous gifts of rhetoric and 
reason, but he could do nothing with the Lords, and 
the Queen saw with joy that she was now strong enough 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 409 

to do what she liked, that at long last she, and not her 
Parliament, was the real ruler of England. 

Henceforth the people allowed this position, though 
they did not recognize it openly, and for this there were 
several causes. At the beginning of Queen Victoria's 
reign her sex had acted powerfully in awakening a 
chivalry which allowed to a woman that which would 
be resented in a man. She was weak, therefore she 
must be defended. This general feeling flagged 
under Albert, and flagged still more strongly in those 
years of her widowhood when she showed herself 
independent of anything her subjects might say, do, 
or ask. But the knowledge, forced into the people's 
minds at the Jubilee, that now she was old, revived 
the ancient indulgent spirit. We all give way to age, 
to those who have not long to live; we want them to 
be happy, and ourselves to escape the remorse which 
would later arrive if we thwarted their wishes. 

A second strong reason was the glamour of Impe- 
rialism or Jingoism which affected the greater part of 
the nation, including many Liberals and Democrats. 
Those who disagreed with it saw its weakness, and 
believed it to be but a spurious form of patriotism 
which bore within it the seeds of its own destruction. 
They knew that though the Government of the country 
was in the hands of Liberals, half the nation had 
become drunk with this belief in their own share of 
imperial greatness, and that nothing was to be done 
until the fit had worn itself out. How much the annual 
visit of the German Emperor pandered to this senti- 
ment cannot be judged, but it certainly had a large 



410 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

influence upon the Queen, and some upon her people. 
The very children in the schools were unfailingly 
taught that they were members of the most glorious 
nation upon earth, one upon which the sun never set. 
This self-glorification rose until it became almost a 
frenzy in 1897, tne Y ear f tne Diamond Jubilee. Yet 
no one feared over-much for the English Constitution, 
for all knew that the ebullience could not last long, 
it might end this year or next, soon any way, for its 
strength would evaporate directly Victoria left this 
world for another. 

By July 1892 Gladstone had lost the sight of one 
eye, and the other was affected ; his hearing, also, was 
bad, and he knew that he could not retain office long. 
But he did not resign on Home Rule, the two causes 
which led to that event in March 1894 being his 
health and the opposition he felt to the heavy Naval 
Estimates in the new Budget. Those who insisted 
upon them probably already had cause to suspect the 
designs of Germany, but Gladstone felt them to be a 
menace of war. " I have always advocated and worked 
for peace. I cannot change that attitude," he said. 

He wrote to the Prince of Wales to tell him of his 
intended resignation, and the Prince responded with 
a charming letter of appreciation and kindliness, in- 
cluding Mrs. Gladstone's name. Arthur Balfour, his 
opponent in the House, spoke of the nation's debt of 
gratitude to him in fostering and keeping alive the 
great traditions of the House of Commons. But 
Queen Victoria had no kindly farewell greeting for 
her aged minister, no word of thanks for his long and 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 411 

warm loyalty to her personally and to the Throne, nor 
did she show any recognition that by his social 
measures he had saved England from a possible revo- 
lution in 1867, and gradually leavened the workers 
with some of his own loyalty. She was determined not 
to ask him herself for any advice or information as to 
his successor, for she had already chosen the man, yet 
she badly wanted to know what he thought would be 
the attitude of the members towards her choice. So 
she tried to elude this difficulty by instructing General 
Ponsonby to waylay Gladstone before her interview 
with him and find out what he thought. There was 
to be a Privy Council in the morning, so as soon as 
Gladstone arrived for that Ponsonby met him and 
plied him with questions. When Gladstone saw to 
what these questions were tending, he said that all his 
thoughts, were at the command of the Queen, but it 
must be at her command, otherwise his lips were sealed. 
As Sir Henry had not been ordered to divulge that 
command, the information was not given. 

When in the afternoon queen and minister met, 
most of the talk was of eyes and ears, German versus 
English oculists, Victoria being emphatic as to the 
superiority of the German over the English, as was her 
usual opinion over the attainments of the two nations. 
So they parted, the Queen so cold and indifferent that 
those about her were as much distressed as those who 
cared for the old man. So aloof was she that, after 
sixty-three years service, Gladstone could not even 
offer his loyalty and best wishes. 

"A departing servant has some title to offer his 



412 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

hopes and prayers for the future ; but a servant is one 
who has done, or tried to do, service in the past," he 
said sadly, afterwards. 

When he left her he found the Empress Frederick 
outside waiting to say good-bye to him, with a friendly 
clasp of the hand, giving him " a most kind and warm 
farewell." The next day he received from the Queen 
a note in answer to the written resignation he had left 
in her hands, and in it she hoped that he would have 
rest and quiet, adding that she would have offered him 
a peerage, but that she knew he would not accept it, 
which was rather a neat way of now withholding it. 
Twice she had offered him this dignity, hoping by that 
means to secure his removal from the lower House, and 
twice he had refused it because his work was not done. 
Now that his reason for refusal no longer existed, the 
Queen was adroit enough to use it as though still in 
force. Not that there is any evidence that he would 
even then have welcomed it. 

Gladstone praised her sincerity, but her attitude 
wanted greatness and dignity. 

I remember hearing many stories at the time in- 
tended to show how little honour she ever paid Glad- 
stone, stories of her keeping him waiting alone for 
hours when he went to consult her, and showing slights 
in other ways, for Liberals were greatly incensed with 
her over what they regarded as her Georgian manners ; 
and she quite sufficiently resembled her forbears to 
show her feelings in this way. It is open to wonder 
if she hated her statesman as much as the lady who 
was dying and whose doctor thought the only chance 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 413 

of her recovery was to administer a mental shock. So, 
knowing her opinions, he shouted into her ear the 
one word, ".Gladstone ! ' : "Wretch ! " she cried and 
recovered. 

Victoria chose as Prime Minister one from whom she 
thought she would have nothing to fear in regard to 
the doings in either House or measures of Reform 
Lord Rosebery, whose mother had been one of the 
Queen's bridesmaids and whose grandmother had been 
a member of the first Household of the reign. Yet 
under him the Welsh Disestablishment Bill passed 
its second reading, and the Duke of Cambridge was 
induced to resign at last his office as commander- 
in-chief. Neither event pleased the Queen, who, 
however, hoped that she would be able to keep the 
army post still in her family. 

Her military enthusiasm increased rather than dimin- 
ished as she became old, and nearly all her public 
appearances were connected in some way with army 
matters, reviews, military exhibitions and visits to 
Aldershot. In January 1893, when Sir Evelyn Wood 
was giving up the command at Aldershot, it was 
reported that her Majesty was personally anxious that 
he should be succeeded by her third son, the Duke of 
Connaught. With this rumour was for months fitfully 
busy, until early in August the Duke of Connaught 
caused a contradiction to be published, in deference 
to the strictures made upon "one of the crying evils 
of our present system, which pitchforks royalty on to 
posts which it never would occupy otherwise," etc., to 
quote newspaper comments. A few days later his 



414 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

contradiction was contradicted from headquarters, and 
he took the command. From that time the Queen was 
frequently at Aldershot, even staying there for two 
days on one occasion. When the Duke of Cambridge 
resigned she confidently expected that her son would 
be made commander-in-chief, but in this matter her 
hopes were not realized. One wonders whether they 
would have been under Lord Salisbury. In 1888, 
under his Ministry, an endeavour had been made to 
invest the post with far wider and more responsible 
powers, most probably to meet the Queen's desire that 
her personal deputy should be given the entire control 
of the army, a most dangerous thing for the country, 
when the deputy was chosen by favour and because 
he was a royal relative, and without any regard for his 
military career or ability. The whole responsibility 
for army matters and military duties of every kind was 
then centred in the commander-in-chief. 

This act, intended as a final declaration of the 
Queen's supreme control of the army, led to the 
sweeping away of the whole fiction. Its nineteenth- 
century resuscitation in England had been caused by 
the German training of Prince Albert, or rather by the 
behind-the-throne exhortations of Stockmar, though 
among us it had been dead for centuries, and it was a 
definite and threatening step towards despotic power, 
being an integral part of the " divine right " belief. 

The Duke of Cambridge was no longer young, and 
could not possibly carry out the duties which this 
change demanded of him. It meant excessive central- 
ization in his hands, and the weakening of respon- 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 415 

sibility and efficiency among the heads of departments. 
If it had been persisted in it must have practically 
destroyed the army, for the time had even then long 
passed when one brain could keep a country's army fit 
for all emergencies. So reorganization took place, and 
the Government decided to put an able soldier at 
the nominal head of military affairs, choosing Lord 
Wolseley, and strictly limiting the term of office to 
five years. So passed from England it is to be 
hoped for ever this trace of German militarism. 

To compensate her cousin for his loss of public 
position the Queen made him her first personal aide- 
de-camp, with the right of attending her on all military 
occasions and of holding the parade on her birthday. 
As commander-in-chief he had done his best accord- 
ing to his knowledge and training, and at his age, the 
same as that of Victoria, he must have been ready to 
give way to a younger man with more modern views. 
He retained many other posts, among them being 
Ranger of Hyde Park (since 1852), also of St. James's 
Park, and of Richmond Park; indeed, one of his 
nicknames with the public was " George Ranger." 

The appointment of Lord Rosebery as Prime 
Minister had not been popular, even in his own party, 
for many resented the placing of a peer in the supreme 
position in the Commons, and his Ministry was de- 
feated in June 1895, Lord Salisbury again coming into 
office, with Joseph Chamberlain as Colonial Secretary. 
From that time to her death the Queen was happy 
politically. 

She even more closely associated herself now with 



416 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

military matters than before; she talked army, and 
praised army life in a way that was truly Germanic; 
so much so that Henry of Battenberg became incul- 
cated with military fervour. Princess Beatrice had 
had several children, the second being born in 1887, 
Victoria being reported to have strongly desired that 
its name should be Jubilee. The home of the Batten - 
bergs was still at Windsor, or Osborne, or Balmoral, 
though there were suggestions that a separate estab- 
lishment should be formed; and this palace life was 
but a dull one for a young man, though it was now 
more diverse and gay than it had ever been in Princess 
Beatrice's youth. It held, however, no excitement and 
little change, except that of scene. The people had 
never taken to Prince Henry, moved more by national 
prejudice than any other sentiment, for he interfered 
in no way with public things. His chief troubles 
seemed to be social, for however happy he might be 
in his relations with the Princess and Queen, there 
were members of that large family who were equal 
to giving Bismarck much justification for his lecture on 
snobbery. Early in the 'nineties stories were told of the 
way in which Prince Henry was publicly snubbed by 
them, stories which might or might not have been true ; 
the following is gathered from Mr. Thomas Catling's 
book of Reminiscences, and may be regarded as true, 
as it was related to him by an official who was present 
on the occasion. 

At a November gth dinner-party given by the Lord 
Mayor at the Mansion House various guests were 
invited, among them being Prince Henry. The seats 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 417 

were arranged strictly in order of precedence, and, as 
usual, a plan of the table was made. Some of the 
guests at the top table, thinking themselves rather 
crowded, pushed out one chair and took their seats. 
Prince Henry, who arrived after this had been done, 
referred to the plan, and asked his relatives by mar- 
riage to move that he might take his place. They 
all sat stolid, no one would move, and the unfortunate 
guest had to find an official and get his help. Official 
authority had actually to be used to make the offenders 
sit more closely so that the chair could be replaced. 
Turning round before he sat down, Henry said 

' Thank you ; they are very cruel to me." 

He must have found it a pleasant dinner to sit 
through ! 

At one such dinner the Duke of Cambridge, who was 
accustomed to use loud and plain speech, caused some 
consternation by looking down at the seat reserved for 
him and blurting out 

" I'm damned if I'm going to sit there." And it 
took much suavity and explanation to induce him at 
last to take the chair assigned him. 

Henry, somewhat weary of his aimless existence, and 
more than weary of the way in which he had to regard 
his position, at last determined to make a bid for per- 
sonal honour. We were then engaged in the second 
Ashanti war, which incidentally brought another large 
slice of territory under British rule, and he volunteered 
to go with Sir Francis Scott's expedition to Coomassie 

1895. The suggestion horrified the Queen, who felt 

t he supplied much of the youth and brightness 
E E 



418 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

which now surrounded her, and she felt that she could 
not spare him. But he wanted at least to prove him- 
self as a soldier, and Princess Beatrice saw with him 
how much more bearable successful action of the sort 
might make his life. No one realized that he had had 
no training, that he went from the soft life of a palace 
to the hardships of long marches in an unknown 
climate, and that his habits had unfitted him for any- 
thing of the kind. When the expedition landed he 
shared in the labours and fatigues of those with whom 
he marched, having nearly reached Coomassie when he 
was struck down by fever, and being promptly sent 
back to the coast, died on H.M.S. Blond on the way 
home on January 19, 1896. 

If he had been personally but a shadow to the people, 
his death made them realize the grief of his wife and 
the Queen, and sympathy was felt for them all through 
the country. Victoria responded with one of her 
public letters, expressed so simply that very pity 
strengthened the protecting love which her subjects 
had again begun to feel for her 

:< This new sorrow is overwhelming, and to me in a 
double sense, for I lose a dearly loved and helpful son, 
whose presence was like a bright sunbeam in my home ; 
and my dear daughter loses a noble, devoted husband, 
to whom she was united by the closest affection. To 
witness the blighted happiness of the daughter who 
has never left me and has comforted and helped me is 
hard to bear." 

Four years earlier the Queen had suffered severest 
grief at the death of the heir presumptive, the Prince 






NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 



419 



of Wales's eldest son, Albert Victor, the Duke of 
Clarence. In December 1891 he had become en- 
gaged to his cousin, Princess May, the daughter of 
Princess Mary of Teck, and had almost immediately 
caught a cold which resulted in influenza and pneu- 
monia. There had been rumours afloat as to how he 
had been living not wisely, but too well, and few were 
surprised that his strength would not stand against 
severe illness. 

It was commonly said that the affections of Princess 
May, now our Queen, had from the first been given to 
Albert Victor's brother George, but that grandmamma 
had decreed that she must marry the heir to the throne, 
and what grandmamma decreed in matters of the heart 
was bound to become fact. True or not, Princess May 
was engaged to Prince George within a year, but this 
was not immediately made public; for, though the 
Queen approved, she would not allow any announce- 
ment to be made before the tomb was erected over the 
Duke of Clarence's grave ! an idea of etiquette which 
must raise a smile. Her Majesty was said to favour 
Prince George over his brother, and had had his por- 
trait painted by Von Angeli, which raised the inevitable 
question, "Are there no English portrait painters? " 

The marriage of the Duke of York and Princess 
May took place in July 1893, in the Chapel Royal, St. 
James's Palace, the first royal wedding held in London 
for over fifty years ; and the Queen was present, not as 
a tearful mourner as when her eldest son was married, 
but as the head of the house and the sympathetic 

andmother. 



420 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

There were other marriages in the family which 
pleased her. The Grand Duke of Hesse had died in 
1889, and his son and successor married a cousin, the 
daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg. 
To this wedding of her two grandchildren went the 
Queen, her last visit to Coburg, that she might give the 
young people her blessing, which unfortunately did not 
avail them much, for they soon disagreed and were 
divorced eight years later. 

Princess Alex of Hesse, said to be lovely, married 
the new Tsar Nicholas II in November of the same 
year, a marriage which gave Victoria exquisite plea- 
sure; for though she could never lose her suspicions of 
Russian policy in the East, she loved to be allied with 
that great power by personal ties. In honour of the 
wedding she gave a state banquet at Windsor, and 
made the Tsar colonel-in-chief of the Second Dra- 
goons, the Royal Scots Greys. 

King Death was busy both with her friends and foes 
during these ten years, causing her varying degrees of 
grief or regret. For the death of her brother-in-law, 
Duke Ernst of Coburg, in 1893, she probably wept 
little, for the quarrel over the Greek succession had 
never been really healed, and Ernst was not morally 
all she could wish. They had not met for years, and 
his loss brought her the pleasant consequence that her ji 
second son inherited the country of his father. 

For the death of Gladstone she also could have felt 
no emotion, even though she had met him once again 
and had, her feelings softened by time, shown him an 
unwonted kindliness. It was at Cimiez, early in 1897, 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 421 

where the Gladstones were staying. Princess Louise 
was also on a visit there, and invited the old people to tea. 
They were shown into a room, to quote Gladstone's 
words, " tolerably but not brilliantly lighted, much of 
which was populated by a copious supply of Hanover- 
ian royalty. The Queen was in the inner part of the 
room, and behind her stood the Prince of Wales and 
the Duke of Cambridge . . . The Queen's manner did 
not show the old and usual vitality. It was still, but 
at the same time decidedly kind, such as I had not 
seen it for a good while before my final resignation. 
She gave me her hand, a thing which is, I apprehend, 
rather rare with men, and which had never happened 
with me during all my life, though that life, be it 
remembered, had included some periods of rather 
decided favour. Catherine sat down near her, and I 
at a little distance. My wife spoke freely and a good 
deal to the Queen, but the answers appeared to me 
rather slight ... it seemed to me that the Queen's 
particular faculty and habit of conversation had dis- 
appeared. It was a faculty, not so much the free off- 
spring of a rich and powerful mind, as the fruit of 
assiduous care, with long practice and much oppor- 
tunity. After ten minutes it was signified to us that 
we had to be presented to all the other royalties." 

Gladstone died in May 1898, and Victoria sent a 
note of sympathy to Mrs. Gladstone in which she was 
very careful to express no personal regret at the event, 
and no recognition of the services he had done her 
country. The nearest approach was, " My thoughts 
are much with you to-day, when your dear husband is 



422 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

laid to rest," and " I shall ever gratefully remember 
his devotion and zeal in all that concerned my personal 
welfare and that of my family." 

Among the pall-bearers were the Prince of Wales 
and Prince George, and when the funeral service in 
Westminster Abbey was over the former did one of 
those graceful acts which made him beloved by all 
parties and all classes. Instead of at once leaving the 
Abbey he walked gravely to where Mrs. Gladstone 
was seated, took her hand in his and kissed it. A 
very uncourtier-like Radical who saw the scene ex- 
claimed : " This atones for a good deal. I'll never 
say another word against him as long as I live." 

Such things as these help to explain the universal 
popularity of the Prince of Wales; they also explain 
the great difference in the quality of the national feel- 
ing which was stirred by the deaths of Queen Victoria 
and King Edward. The Hon. Adelaide Drummond l 
well expressed it in a letter to Lady Agatha Russell, 
when she said, " I think this loss " (of King Edward) 
" is felt much more as a personal one than that of 
Queen Victoria. That death was very impressive, but 
the tender feeling was not uppermost as it is with us 
now, and the fact seems to pervade all the everyday 
doings which used to suggest all sorts of prosperity 
and festivity." 

Princess Mary of Teck, that vivacious and warm- 
hearted woman, died in October 1897. She had made 
herself peculiarly loved by the people, who were well 

1 The Hon. Adelaide Drummond : Retrospect and Memoir. 
By Basil Champneys. 



NEARLY AN AUTOCRAT 423 

aware of her good deeds and her reputation as an 
appreciator of humour, whether merely good humour 
or that form which approximates to wit. Every one 
is drawn to one who can laugh or cause laughter in 
others, and her ready laugh and gift of happy repartee 
added just that touch of pride in her which made us 
feel a personal touch of kinship. One of the stories 
so often told may bear repetition. Seated at dinner 
one evening between Canon Teignmouth Shore and 
another canon, the former asked if she did not feel 
in an alarming position with 

"Canon to right of her, 
Canon to left of her," etc. 

" Well," she replied, " this is the very first time I 
have been classed with the Light Brigade." 

Her husband died in 1900, just a year before Vic- 
toria, being buried beneath St. George's Chapel. And 
that year the Queen's second son, Alfred Duke of 
Saxe-Coburg, suddenly developed a fatal illness, and 
left the little country he had so lately acquired to the 
boy Duke of Albany. Almost at the same time Vic- 
toria first learned that the Empress Frederick, of whom 
some one said in 1893 that she looked so remarkably 
young and well that she might have been thought to 
be about thirty, was stricken with the mortal disease 
which had killed the Emperor. This was a bitter 
grief, but her daughter outlived her for six months. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

"Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring 
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling : 

The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To flutter and the Bird is on the Wing." 

Edward FitzGerald's ' Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.' 

" From many lands we come ; 

From North, from South, from East, from West, we bring 
Our fealty unforced. . . ." Geoffrey Junior. 

ALMOST every year Queen Victoria went abroad, 
generally to the south of France, though Italy was 
the chosen country on three occasions, and in 1889 
she paid a visit to San Sebastian in Spain. Mentone 
had been a favourite with her, which was not far from 
San Remo, where Edward Lear, who had once taught 
her drawing, had a villa. He was much troubled by 
rumours that her Majesty intended to pay him a visit. 

:c T'other day," he wrote in his well-known facetious 
style, " over a hundred owly fools came up and stood 
all about my gate for more than an hour ! but on find- 
ing that no Queen came went away gnashing their hair 
and tearing their teeth. I hope if her Majesty does 
come I shall be told of the future event before it does 
come to pass, as it would not be pretty to be caught 
in old slippers and shirt sleeves. I dislike contact 

with royalty, as you know; being a dirty landscape 

424 



painter, apt only to speak his thoughts and not to con- 
ceal them. The other day when some one said, ' Why 
do you keep your garden locked ? ' said I, ' To keep out 
beastly German bands and odious wandering Germans 
in general.' Says my friend, * If the Queen comes to 
your gallery you had better not say that sort of thing.' 
Says I, ' I won't, if I can help it.' " l 

Lord Spencer, who was with the Queen at Mentone, 
called to see him, and Lear commented with glee upon 
the outrageously ridiculous reports which were spread 
about the Queen's going to see his pictures. " Among 
the most absurd was one that old George had been 
busy for two days and two nights making immense 
quantities of macaroon cakes; for, said the Sanramesi, 
1 It is known that the Queen of England eats macaroon 
cakes continually, and also insists on her suite doing 
the same. And there is no one at San Remo who can 
make macaroon cakes except Signer Giorgio Cocali 
(Lear's cook). I told George of this, who laughed, a 
rare act on his part ; and said, ' To begin with, I don't 
even know what a macaroon cake is like, and never 
saw one, to my knowledge." 2 

At the various places which the Queen visited a 
mass of legends arose about the things she did, which 
might or might not have been true. Her Indian and 
Scotch attendants, with their remarkable clothes, 
caused crowds to gather, especially in such large cities 
as Florence; and children found a never wearying 

1 Lear was keenly annoyed at a new hotel built by Germans, 
which overlooked and spoilt his garden. 

2 Later Letters of Edward Lear. Edited by Lady Strachey. 



pleasure in stealing round to watch them. Once her 
Majesty told an Indian to give a cake to one little 
creature, but at his awesome approach the whole group 
of babes fled in screaming terror, drawing hearty 
laughter from the Queen. 

It was her custom to drive about the grounds of the 
house in which she was staying in a donkey-chair in 
the morning and take a long drive in her landau in 
the afternoon. When at Nice in 1897 sne often passed 
on the hill road an old beggar, sitting in a rough little 
wooden cart, drawn by two dogs, to whom she generally 
gave a coin. One morning the old man whipped up 
his dogs and proceeded to race the Queen's carriage 
down the hill. For a while his dogs kept bravely 
abreast, but of course soon had to give up the contest, 
and her Majesty was sufficiently diverted to send some 
one back to him with a second douceur. 

At times her hotel surroundings were scarcely 
majestic, though the hotel proprietor may have been 
very proud of them, and Lord Ronald Gower, in his 
Old Diaries, gives us a glimpse of her in homely 
surroundings at Aix-Les-Bains. Commanded to dine 
with her, he found the dining-room so small that 
the ten people at the table quite rilled it up; on its 
walls was only one picture a Jubilee portrait of her 
Majesty. Could that have been intended as a com- 
pliment, and if so, how dull a one ! The reception-room, 
in which local magnates were to make their bows before 
royalty, was lit only by a few candles, and the dinner 
guests made desperate but futile efforts to induce the 
gas chandelier to add to the illumination, until the 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 427 

Queen, fearing an accident, begged them to desist. 
That the reception might be in good style the middle 
of the room had been cleared of furniture, and seem- 
ingly the sides too, for when more candles and a lamp 
had been secured there was no place upon which they 
could be stood. To add a touch of colour, some one 
seized some vases of flowers artificial, there being 
none others at hand and brought them in, and was 
met by the same trouble, being at last obliged to group 
them on the one vacant spot which had been found 
for the lamp. It all sounds very curious when one 
remembers the particularity of the Queen at home, the 
way in which she liked people to appear as if by magic 
at the moment at which she expressed a wish for them, 
and her absolute intolerance of any hitch whatever in 
the service around her. But perhaps on this particular 
evening all her attendants had a holiday. 

At Nice, in 1897, tne conditions were much the same 
while she was staying at " the hideous Hotel Regina," 
the drawing-room walls of which were covered with 
red paper and hung with bad paintings lent by a 
picture dealer; while the dining-room was disfigured 
by a vulgar glaring paper and a life-sized copy 
of the coronation picture of George III and Queen 
Charlotte. 

A matter which much exercised the minds of the 
inhabitants of these towns was the way in which the 
Queen of England dressed, for, like most of her 
country-people of that day, she thought that any old 
clothes were good enough for travelling, and she did 
not compliment the Florentines or Nicians by any 



428 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

effort after regality. A broad-brimmed straw hat, a 
shawl and a black skirt which had seen much service, 
such as she wore in the grounds of Osborne or 
Windsor, are said to have become familiar in the towns 
of her holiday making, and were the subject of many 
jokes among our southern friends as well as in Eng- 
land. A writer of a magazine article tells how once 
a new stableman at Windsor saw a little old woman 
examining the horses one day, and called out 

" Hello ! no one is allowed in here when the Queen 
is about ! " upon which the straw hat, pointed shawl 
and black skirt turned round sharply, and the man's 
jaw dropped as he recognized the visitor. 

Victoria's 1893 visit to Florence found, for some 
reason, a large number of commentators, who give 
many little interesting pictures of her doings. It has 
not generally been known that the precautions taken 
on these foreign journeys were in some ways more 
elaborate than even those across England, and it is a 
little wonderful that the French should have allowed 
their through service to be disarranged on her account. 
But the Queen, like all sovereigns, feared assassination 
and accident, and it is quite certain that the authorities 
in France would have done anything rather than have 
suffered any ill thing to happen to her in their country. 
Thus, when she went on this journey to Florence, all 
the way there from Cherbourg the lines were cleared, 
so that for two hours no other train or portion of a 
train ran in front of hers. 

On several occasions King Humbert and his Queen 
had visited her when she was abroad, and this year it 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 429 

was rumoured that she intended to return their calls, 
but the visit was opposed by the Vatican. It was 
said, too, that feeling in England was against it, so 
far as the intention was known, for Rome terrible 
fact ! was the home of Roman Catholicism ! There 
is no bigotry in the world like that of the English 
Evangelican when thinking of Romanism. The 
peasants of Cimiez firmly believed, though, that in her 
heart Victoria was a Roman Catholic, and had to go 
abroad to be shriven in secret. 

She was particularly keen to see the miraculous 
picture of the Annunciation, which was always carefully 
hidden under a curtain behind the altar of the Church 
of the Annunciation in Florence, and the privilege of 
seeing which was rarely granted. The difficulties in 
her way added zest to the visit when the permission 
came, and she was wheeled into the church in her 
chair by her Indian attendants. They were all grouped 
before the picture, candles were lit, prayers were said 
and much genuflexion made, and at last the great 
moment came when most solemnly the curtain was 
withdrawn from what the priests said was a picture 
drawn by heavenly hands. The Queen looked and 
looked, then turned to Ronald Gower, whispering 
" Can you see anything, Ronald ? for I cannot." 
He replied that he could only see a glitter of jewels, 
for all that was visible was a blurred female profile 
beneath a crown of incrusted gems. The Queen must 
have felt some inward amusement when the young 
monk near her said with bated breath, that " Michael 
Angelo had remarked that he thought he knew some- 



430 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

thing of painting, and he was convinced that no mortal 
hand could have painted the work ! " 

Old age crept gently upon Victoria. By 1890 she 
never walked without a stick, and it was evident that 
movement was uncomfortable; two or three years later 
she would enter a room leaning heavily upon the arm 
of an Indian and using the stick with her other hand ; 
then she was wheeled about the castle in a chair. By 
1898 her sight was failing, for cataract had appeared, 
and she could not easily read her letters, though this 
was kept as secret as possible, and dispatch boxes were 
sent her as usual. She kept up as long as she could 
her open-air life, and one reads of her in 1893 sitting 
in the garden several hours on a March day going 
through business papers, she being then nearly seventy- 
five years old. Almost up to the end, too, she would 
go, when at Windsor, from the castle to White Lodge, 
a tea-house at Frogmore, before breakfast, and, after 
having a cup of coffee, attend the service there and 
then return. It was at this place she would occupy 
a summer-house and work on dispatches, with her 
secretaries around her. 

Age seemed to bring her youthful tastes back, and 
there was no longer any need to beg her to go to a 
theatre, for she was quite ready to command the theatre 
to go to her. Beginning in 1890, when her children 
organized some private theatricals and tableaux at 
Osborne, her liking for the drama revived. So she 
saw The Gondoliers, Duse in La Locandiera, and 
commanded Tree to act The Red Lamp at Balmoral. 
She also turned to her early favourites, and had // 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 431 

Trovatore, Faust, Carmen and Cavalleria Rusticana 
to be performed before her. She entered with great 
zest into the fun of Tom Taylor's Helping Hands at 
Osborne, and eighteen months before her death had 
Sanger's Circus at Windsor Castle, with 150 horses, 
elephants, camels and many wild birds and beasts. To 
this was added an historical procession, some of the 
characters being taken by well-known people, and 
representing St. George, Richard III and even Queen 
Elizabeth. That many of these shows were for the 
sake of Princess Beatrice's children did not detract 
from the fact that she too enjoyed them. 

She no longer avoided garden parties or state con- 
certs, and when Princess Maude married Prince 
Charles of Norway in the private chapel of Bucking- 
ham Palace in 1896 she was there, and gave a 
garden party in the palace gardens, and also was 
present at a state concert to which 1500 guests were 
invited, the royalties sitting in crimson and gold seats, 
strictly in order of precedence, which, being so at 
all functions, must have been rather boring, as the 
neighbours were always the same. Princess Maude 
received 4000 a year from the sum allotted to the 
Prince of Wales for his children, and the Queen must 
have been relieved that there was no longer any need 
for her to enter into a new struggle on that point. 

In 1896 her Majesty entertained the Tsar of Russia 
with the Tsarina and their infant at Balmoral, insist- 
ing that it was a purely family visit, a statement which 
her ministers duly echoed, though every one knew 
that negotiations were going on between the two 



432 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

sovereigns concerning the disturbed state of Europe 
and the system of murder and illimitable taxation of 
the Armenians by the Turks. The previous year 
Rosebery had addressed the House on the horrors 
which had been perpetrated there, "while the Powers 
look on and fly little diplomatic kites." The matter 
threatened European war, and a little later culminated 
in the crisis of Crete. It was rumoured that the Tsar 
wished to associate with England in delivering the 
Armenians from the ghastly thraldom in which they 
lived, a rumour which had little association with fact, 
for the Tsar refused to use coercion with Turkey, nor 
would France join in, and England felt that it could 
not act alone. Twenty-five thousand Armenians were 
massacred in 1896, and the diplomatic kites continued 
to fly for years ! But the notable point was that, with 
a Conservative leader in the House, for in 1895 Salis- 
bury took Rosebery's place, the Queen was willing to 
reverse the whole of her Eastern policy, and go to 
the aid of the oppressed. It was, however, only partly 
the result of the different political influence with which 
she was surrounded there was also another and more 
personal reason. Age had, as has been several times 
pointed out, brought a change in her attitude ; she had 
at last, and perhaps unconsciously, discarded the per- 
nicious attempt to rule her country according to the 
remembered wishes of Prince Albert, then dead for 
thirty-five years; she was at last governing according 
to the advice of her ministers and according to the 
natural, humane sentiments of her own mind ; she was 
at last herself and not the shadow of some one else. 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 433 

By 1897 the Queen had completed sixty years of 
reign, and the well-named "Diamond" Jubilee took 
place. By a route three times as long as that of the 
Jubilee of ten years before, she drove in her chariot of 
state to St. Paul's Cathedral, preceded and followed 
by Prime Ministers from all the colonies, delegates 
from India and all the dependencies and representa- 
tives from all the armed forces of the empire. Here 
were Mounted Rifles from Victoria and New South 
Wales, from the Cape and Natal, from "Our Lady 
of the Snows." Here were Hausas from the Niger 
and the Gold Coast, coloured men from the West 
India regiments, Zaptiehs from Cyprus, Chinamen 
from Hong-Kong and Dyaks from British North 
Borneo; here were Englishmen, Scotchmen, Irishmen 
and Welshmen, Imperial Service troops sent by the 
native princes of India, and a detachment of Sikhs. 
Said a writer in Figaro, " Rome is equalled if not 
surpassed by the Power which, in Canada, Australia, 
India and the China seas, in Egypt, Central and 
Southern Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Mediter- 
ranean, rules peoples and governs in their interests." 

In the midst of this great and gorgeous procession, 
in a golden coach drawn by eight cream-coloured 
horses, who marched proudly under their load of 
golden harness, champing their gilded bits, their blue 
reins held by grooms whose scarlet coats were en- 
crusted with gold and insignia of service, in this 
magnificence came a little old woman of seventy-nine, 
clothed in garments which gave the appearance of rich 
white lace figured with black, her face beaming, and 



F F 



434 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

bowing her acknowledgments from right to left for 
four hours. 

But was she merely a little old woman? No, she 
was an idol, a symbol, the symbol of Imperialism 
surrounded by the proofs of her great cult. Imperial- 
ism was burning like a flame in the hearts of the 
English, but never before had they seen with their own 
eyes just what it meant. The knowledge burst upon 
them like a miracle; they saw, they understood, and 
their rending shouts meant the bending of the knee 
to the power which was centred in that little frail 
figure. Through roaring crowds she passed, the 
awakener of the nation's self-consciousness. They 
shouted in acclaim of their own importance as well 
as of hers, but she did not realize the cause of their 
emotion, the great niche in which they had placed her. 
She felt it to be personal. 

" How kind they are, how kind they are to me ! 
she said through blinding tears, as she re-entered the 
gates of Buckingham Palace. 

And if they had been challenged, every one in the 
crowd would have declared stoutly that their homage 
was personal, as it was, to a large extent, yet without 
this new awakening it would not have been the 
same homage. At last the bond between the Queen 
and her English subjects was complete, riveted by 
Imperialism. 

It was the apotheosis of Queen Victoria ! 

Old as she was, the day brought her nothing but 
happiness, and later she mused and dreamed over it 
and constantly returned to it in conversation. Meet- 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 435 

ing the Bishop of Winchester the following month, 
she asked him from what point he had seen the pro- 
cession, and then suddenly remembering, added, with 
a laugh 

" Oh, you were on the steps of St. Paul's. I was 
unfortunate I had a very bad place and saw nothing." 

Six days after the great procession her Majesty gave 
a garden party at Buckingham Palace, driving slowly 
with he Prince and Princess of Wales in an open 
carrfage through lanes of her guests, " looking most 
amiable 1 ' and happy." But the great review off Spit- 
head, by which the Navy took part in the Diamond 
Jubilee, she could not attend. 

There were some, however, who, in this period of 
rejoicing, felt aggrieved. The Queen was to receive 
the congratulations of the Commons, and with her 
martinet-like precision, which allowed nothing for 
numbers, appeared on the very moment, remained in 
the room but a few minutes and went away. It has 
several times been pointed out that the carriage 
arrangements at any royal reception were atrocious, 
and though there were many carriages, the number was 
not excessive. However, the usual muddle occurred, 
and by the time most of the visitors were allowed to 
crawl to the palace door, the Queen had long gone 
to seek her afternoon repose. As a certain General 
G. C. Bartley wrote to The Times, somewhat deri- 
sively, over the supposed privileges given to members 
as regarded the Court and the Jubilee, he read of 
Colonists and foreigners of all nations going to royal 
reviews, parties, garden and otherwise, but as a member 



of Parliament he had not received a single invitation 
of any sort to identify himself with the festivities or 
meetings ; " but then I was not made in Germany nor 
in New South Wales," he added. "I attribute all 
deficiencies to State officials who manage these affairs, 
but large constituencies are apt to resent such treat- 
ment of their representatives and even to consider it 
an intentional slight." 

But this was a new Victoria, and instead of passing 
the complaint by with indifference, she at once had an 
invitation to a garden party issued to the members and 
their wives. 

With the imperial fervour which had been steadily 
growing since the death of Beaconsfield, there was a 
growing sense that England had certain scores to wipe 
off. Afghanistan had been settled as far as possible 
by Gladstone after the second war, but it was felt 
necessary to come to some definite agreement with 
Russia about boundaries, a matter which was fortun- 
ately brought to a conclusion with nothing more serious 
than a war of words. 

Through European machinations the Sudan still 
remained in unrest. So far the policy initiated by the 
G. O. M. had been maintained by his successors, but 
it was felt by 1897 tnat tne ti me had arrived for making 
a great effort to settle the country. So British and 
Egyptian troops were sent out under Lord Kitchener, 
and the battle of Omdurman, in September 1898, 
restored to Egypt the greater part of the territory it 
had once possessed, which caused the Queen intense 
satisfaction. It was, however, not placed in the same 



way again in the power of the Turk, and England has 
had since to maintain a great army there, both military 
and civil; in fact, England has practically added 
Egypt and the Sudan to her list of dependencies. 

From 1897 to 1899 one frontier war succeeded 
another in India, brought about by fear, defiance and 
patriotism on the part of the tribesmen and by a 
mixture of self-defence and aggression on our side. 
So we went on expanding with a firm conviction that 
we were conferring a blessing on the world by so doing, 

I and that if they would only realize it the black men, 
the yellow and the brown would be much happier in 
subjection than left to their own freedom. It was the 
heyday of the missionary who saw evil in every religion 
but his own, and went about preaching of that evil 
and of the religious blessings which would accrue to 
the coloured men under British rule ; incidentally he 
was also the pioneer after whom all the sins of 
civilization were introduced into every quarter of the 
globe. However, it all jumped with Imperialism, and 
we were content to stigmatize these little people who 
were fighting for the continued possession of their 
independence as wicked rebels, horrible barbarians and 
treacherous enemies. 

As to Africa, Majuba Hill still rankled and, though 
the pacifists kept clear of war there as long as possible, 
there was ample occasion for it on both sides. The 
position of the Boers has been explained earlier. The 
Uitlanders said, on their side, "We are the majority 
of the inhabitants here, we make the wealth of the 
country, you tax us beyond all necessity, you will not 



438 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

let us educate our children, you keep us under the heel 
of your police; above all, you give us no political 
rights." " Let us live in peace in our country," said 
the Boers. " I insist upon dragging wealth out of the 
bowels of your earth," replied the Uitlander. How 
could such divergent interests be reconciled? Of 
course, there had to be war. 

A great outcry was raised in 1899 against the start- 
ing of this war, for even by then the Jingo fever was 
beginning to abate, but there were sinister circum- 
stances underlying it, known only to some of those in 
authority and some of those on the spot. The Kaiser 
had never visited England since his famous telegram 
to Kruger, and the Kaiser was still hoping to make 
himself master, by hook or by crook, of a broad band 
across Africa, from east to west, which should 
effectually and for ever divide the British possessions 
in the north from those in the south. His dream was 
Africa for Germany, for having once secured this band 
he would continue, he hoped, to broaden it until the 
continent was all his. 

In March 1899 the Uitlanders sent direct to Queen 
Victoria a petition, signed by 2 1 ,000 British out there, 
setting forth their heavy grievances, and by then the 
suspicion arose that Kruger was preparing for war. 
To the Cabinet the practical choice lay between the 
gradual submission of all South Africa to a Boer 
farmer of sordid habits and peculatory instincts or a 
fight to a finish. There could be no doubt as to what 
the choice should be. 

The fight began in October, and the next mont 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 439 

Kaiser William, anxious to lay his hand on his heart 
and say " This is not my game ! " came to visit the 
Queen and the Prince of Wales with his Kaiserin. 
This visit, of course, in the usual ostrich fashion of the 
Court, which wished to hide its activity under the sands 
of innocence, was announced to have no relation what- 
ever to South African affairs, to be a purely family 
visit ; and to support this the historians tell us that the 
notorious Kaiser-telegram to Kruger was really quite 
innocent and free from inimical intent. But how are 
we to believe the smooth speakers? 

From the commencement of her widowhood the 
Queen's interest in her army had been yearly increas- 
ing, and when war began it was never out of her 
thoughts. But though she did what she could, it was 
impossible that she should again harry the War Office 
as she had done in the past. The conditions were 
different, the Government was now Conservative and 
not Liberal, and so could do with impunity what the 
other would have been forbidden to think ; her energies 
were lessening, and her sight was so affected that she 
could no longer read the reports and dispatches which 
were sent for. So she knitted woollen comforters and 
caps, feeling great vexation when her work was appro- 
priated by officers instead of being given to the men. 
At Christmas she broke through long habit, and re- 
mained for the third time at Windsor rather than go 
to Osborne, that she might be nearer the centre of 
news, and she sent chocolate to the soldiers at the front 
at New Year. 

But now that she was near her life's end there 



440 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

remained one section of her countryfolk whom she had 
never forgiven, against whom she had harboured 
distrust all her reign, adding suspicion, resentment and 
a desire for reprisals since 1862. Those people lived 
in Ireland. She had never pardoned Dublin's refusal 
to put up a statue to the Prince Consort, the attacks 
on her sons or the national desire for freedom in the 
administration of the country's affairs. In 1899 she 
held out the olive branch to Bristol, after ignoring 
the place for nearly sixty years; would she die and 
still leave Ireland to ban her memory? 

She might have done this had it not been for the 
Boer War. The Irish have ever been fighters, and 
England has ever taken advantage in her need of this 
great quality. In 190x3 the bravery of the Irish troops 
made a great impression upon her, and it is to be hoped 
that in the general mellowing which age had brought 
to her rigid self-complacency she felt some regret, 
perhaps even remorse, for the way in which she had 
treated the whole nation. She had persistently, some- 
times heatedly, refused all the suggestions of her 
ministers to go there or, as was repeatedly urged in 
earlier years, to choose a residence there; she would 
allow no son of hers to be associated with the island ; 
and the only royal link between England and Ireland 
for thirty years had been made by the Prince of Wales, 
who had three times visited it, being accredited by 
the fearful with great courage when he went there in 
1885. Yet his courage was not put to the test, for he 
met kindness and loyalty everywhere. " What do you 
want ? " he asked of a man with a bundle of walking- 






APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 441 

sticks, who tried to get near him and who was being 
chased away by his attendants. 

" Nothing, your honour, nothing, but to ask your 
honour to take a present of a Tipperary rifle," replied 
the man, offering the best stick he had. The Prince 
took it with genial thanks, sending some one after him 
with a sovereign. When some ill-looking people in 
Dublin were cried out against by the suite, who wanted 
them sent away, the Princess turned to the latter, 
saying, " Oh, think of how they have been treated." 

When the Queen went to Wales in 1889, the Irish 
made one more attempt to induce her to visit them, 
and again she refused. To her Ireland was nothing. 
She needed the visible proof of personal service on 
their part, for she had no imagination, before the 
hardness of her heart could be broken; and this proof 
was given now. It moved her to a feeling of grati- 
tude, and she sent permission to her Irish soldiers to 
wear their national badge, the shamrock, one day in 
the year, the day of St. Patrick; and then in April 
1900 she gave up her long journey to the south of 
France for the short one to Dublin. She did it grace- 
fully, telling the people of Dublin that she came to 
seek change and rest and to revive her memory of the 
warm-hearted welcome given to her, her husband and 
children in earlier days. And so hearty was the wel- 
come that she declared that the Irish really loved her, 
and she responded to the wit and gaiety of the crowd 
by repeating 

" How I delight in the Irish ! " 

For three weeks she remained there, driving about, 



442 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

attending a military review, an assembly of 50,000 
school children, and entertaining notabilities. If only 
she had done this from time to time during the forty 
years of neglect, how different might Irish Victorian 
history have been. 

This year, old and feeble as she was, all her youthful 
enthusiasm had revived. She drove through London 
in March, that she might show her deep interest in her 
people at a time of anxiety, and was received with 
the greatest enthusiasm, love and veneration, she 
looking well and happy. She visited Netley and 
Woolwich hospitals; she held a Drawing-room at 
Buckingham Palace, her last ; she acted personally as 
sponsor to the Duke of York's third child, she gave 
musical entertainments at Windsor, a garden party at 
Buckingham Palace, and a state banquet to the 
Khedive of Egypt. She received at Windsor the 
delegates from Australia, who were watching their 
Commonwealth Bill through the Commons, welcomed 
home troops from the war, among them Canadian and 
Colonial detachments, and attended her last appear- 
ance in public a sale of needlework by Irish ladies 
at Windsor Town Hall. It is not too much to say 
that this year she did as much as she had done all 
together in the first ten years of her widowhood. 

Even the beloved Scotland was allowed to suffer 
somewhat from her war anxiety, for Victoria's thoughts 
were fixed on South Africa, and she would allow no 
servants' balls, no fetes, no joy-ringing of any sort. 
Truly a revolution had taken place ! 

In her demeanour the old jealousy of her apparent 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 443 

dignity, showing itself in the fear of any liberty being 
offered her a most curious characteristic in one so 
highly placed as herself had entirely disappeared. 
Perhaps by that time she knew that dignity could cast 
out fear. I have been told by a dweller near the 
castle that once, during these late years, he saw a 
happy wedding party, meeting the Queen in her 
carriage, throw confetti over her, and she responding 
with a jolly laugh of amusement and restraining her 
attendants from driving the party away. How one 
regrets that spurious dignity which kept her so aloof 
so long ! It leads to the thought that it was grafted 
upon her nature by the German training given her in 
what royalty should expect. 

The article in The Quarterly Review shows how, 
before she was so old, at the shadow or less than the 
shadow of freedom she would freeze and probably not 
thaw again through a dinner-party, saying the next 
morning 

" I chose to have a headache last night. I am not 
quite sure that is discreet." 

In ordinary family life a headache under such 
circumstances would be regarded as a euphemistic way 
of explaining sulkiness. With the Queen I suppose it 
was regarded as a calculated method of ensuring 
a rigid line of behaviour among her guests, a heavy 
penalty for those guests to pay for dining with royalty ! 

On December 14, 1900, Queen Victoria celebrated 
for the last and thirty-ninth time the mourning rites 
at the mausoleum at Frogmore, and four days later 
took an unconscious farewell of Windsor towers, when 



444 WIDOWHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

she started for Osborne. She had largely lost her 
memory, she did not always hear, and it annoyed her 
to miss a word in conversation, and she was further 
depressed by her anxieties concerning the war. At 
Osborne one more trouble fell upon her, for on 
Christmas Day her valued friend and attendant, Lady 
Jane Churchill, was found dead in bed. The tearful 
Queen wove a wreath of flowers with her trembling old 
hands to lay on the bier. 

Yet on the second of January she received Lord 
Roberts, and talked a little with him, but it was a 
supreme effort; when Joseph Chamberlain went to her 
on the loth she could scarcely speak, and the inter- 
view lasted only two or three minutes. On the i5th 
she drove out for the last time, her companion being 
the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and 
after the igth she did not speak again. Two days 
later the Kaiser arrived at Osborne, and the next day 
she died, with him and five of her children round her. 

Of the funeral there is little need to write. It was 
military, according to her desires, and the Alberta 
carried her over the Solent between lines of thunder- 
ing battleships. From Victoria to Paddington soldiers 
guarded the roads two deep and shoulder to shoulder, 
and artillery escorted the gun-carriage upon which her 
body lay. The King, the German Emperor, the Duke 
of Connaught, the kings of Greece and Portugal, and 
representatives from all the royal families of Europe 
followed, to see her placed in the spot where her 
husband had lain for nearly forty years. 

It was the end of a woman of great sincerity. If 



APOTHEOSIS OF QUEEN VICTORIA 445 

she made many mistakes, alienating in turn different 
sections of her people, two things must be remembered. 
One is that in her age for a short space she brought 
them all under her influence; and another that she 
was born in 1818, and had helped to drag England out 
of the disgusting quagmire of immorality in which the 
people were sunk from the time of the Stuarts till the 
end of the Georges. She was the link between then 
and now, and a link cannot be the crown and comple- 
tion of a chain. She did a great deal more for the 
reconstruction of English habits than could ever have 
been expected from a member of the Guelph family. 
Her chief weakness lay in the rigidity of her will. 
And yet this because of the length of her life 
became at last the chief cause of the claim made by her 
adulators that she was great. By this rigidity she 
brought disasters upon herself, and yet at last, by its 
continued exercise, she hypnotized the people into 
believing that she must be right. Without putting 
it into words, the majority agreed that she ruled by 
Right Divine. 

She was also, under Beaconsfield, one of the chief 
influences in enlarging her empire. Had she had 
unrestricted liberty in this matter she would inevitably 
have brought disaster upon her country, for in this, as 
well as in domestic policy, we may go too fast. The 
sane road is the middle road, and the glory and safety 
of England depended more upon her changing ministers 
than upon her. 



INDEX 



ABDUL Aziz, Sultan of Turkey, 94 

a' Beckett, Arthur, quoted 356 

Adelaide, Princess of Hohenlohe- 
Langenburg, 61 

, Queen, 102 

Adolphus, Prince of Schaumberg- 
Lippe, 383 

" Adullamites," 115 

Ainger, Canon, 153 

Albany, Duchess of, 262, 350 

, Duke of. See Leopold, Prince. 

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. 
See Edward VII. 

, Prince Consort, 3, 5, 7, 15 et 

seq., 48, 56, 65, 70, 75, 82, 87, 
loo, 170-1, 174, 225, 232, 292, 
293, 304, 37, 312, 320, 349, 368 

Memorial, 72 

Victor, Prince, 64, 348, 

389-90, 419 

Alexander of Hesse, 298, 308, 420 

II, Tsar of Russia, 93, 200, 

231, 232, 273 

Tsarevitch, 194, 197 

of Wurtemburg, 63 

Alexandra, Queen, 25, 28, 51, 64, 

74, 91, 102, 117, 148 et seq., 163, 

177-8, 199, 200, 216, 347 
Alexandrina of Prussia, 28, 31 
Alfred, Prince. See Edinburgh, 

Duke of. 

of Saxe-Coburg, 404 

Alice, Princess, Grand Duchess of 

Hesse-Darmstadt, 20, 48, 51, 65, 

100, 141, 149, 180, 224 
Allingham, William, quoted 359 
Amelie, Queen of France, 66, 68 
Annual Register, 23 
Arabi Pasha, 258, 262 
Argyll, Duke of, 158, 159 
Arthur, Prince. See Connaught, 

Duke of. 



Ashley, Evelyn, 126 
Ashmead-Bartlett, William, 312 
Atholl, Duchess of, 181 
Augusta, Queen of Prussia, 46, 142, 

143, 37 r 

Augusta Victoria, German Empress, 

300 
Austro-Prussian War, 58 

Babington, Mr., 92 
Baker, Valentine, 263 
Balfour, A. J., 410 
Barrington, Lady Caroline, 223 
Battenberg, Alexander, King of 

Bulgaria, 298, 299, 302, 350, 

379 et seq. 
, Henry, Prince, 299, 302, 305 

etseq., 349, 351, 353, 416-18 
Louis, Prince, 299, 301, 303, 

305, 35i 

, Princess, 298, 308 

, Princess Henry. See Princess 

Beatrice. 

Beach, Sir Michael Hicks, 227 

Beaconsfield, Lady (Mrs. Disraeli), 
107, 190 

, Lord. See Disraeli, Ben- 
jamin. 

Beatrice, Princess Henry of Bat- 
tenberg, 48, 64, 233, 239, 244, 
279, 287, 301 et seq., 309, 332, 
345, 416-18 

Beresford, Lord Charles, 252 

Bessborough, Lord, 155 

Biddulph, Sir Thomas, 85 

Bigelow, Pulteney, quoted 398 

Bigge, Sir Arthur, 85 

Bismarck, Prince, quoted 15, 43, 
45, 46 et seq., 58, 64, 68, quoted 
130, 137, 138, 14, 141, H3 X 44, 
215, 242, 270, 276, 300, 365, 367, 
371 et seq., 376 et seq., 397, 398 



447 



448 



INDEX 



Blackie, Professor, 359 

Blegg, groom to Prince of Wales, 

164 

Bradlaugh, Charles, 159, 190 
Bradley, Dean, 128 
Breadalbane, Lord, 358 
Bright, John, 115, 121, 126 
Brooks, Shirley, quoted 70, 1 32 
Brougham, Lord, 127, 170 
Brown, Dr., of Windsor, 64 

, George, 306, 357 

, John, senior, 279 

, John, 100 et seg., 159, 1 66 et 

seg., 174, 176, 1 80, 1 8 1, 217, 278, 

281 et seg., 285 et seg., 289, 306, 

309, 329, 369, 371 
Browning, Robert, 317, 348 
Bruce, Lady Augusta. See Lady 

Augusta Stanley. 
Brunow, Baron, 45 
Bucher, Herr, 271, 378 
Bulgarian Atrocities, 227 
Burdett-Coutts, Baroness, 312, 355 
Burke, Thomas Henry, 275 
Busch, Moritz, quoted 15, 140 note, 

271. 377-8, 381-2 
Byng, Colonel, 279 

Cairns, Lord, 129 

Cambridge, Duchess of, 321, 361 

, George, Duke of, 11, 132, 134, 

146, 259, 413-15. 421 

, Mary, Princess. See Teck. 

Candlish, Dr., 73 
Canning, Lady, 173 

, Lord, 7 

Card well, Viscount, 133 et seg. 
Carey, Lieutenant, 239, 261. 
Carlingford, Lord, 297 
Carlyle, Jane Welsh, quoted 25 

, Thomas, 235, 278, 311, 317-18 

Carnarvon, Lord, 234 

Catling, Thomas, quoted 275, 

416-7 
Cavendish, Frederick, Lady, 275 

, Lord, 275 

Chamberlain, Right Hon. Joseph, 

250.333. 338,385-6,415 
Chapman, George, quoted 41 
Charles, Prince of Norway, 431 
Charlotte, Empress of Mexico, 69 
Chelmsford, Lord, 129 
Chesterfield, Lord, 164 
Chevalley, Abel, 59, quoted 342 



Childers, Right Hon. Hugh, 133-4, 

251 et seg., 258 

Christian IX, King of Denmark, 29 
, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein- 

Sonderburg-Augustenburg, 61 et 

seq., 303 
-, Princess, 48, 60, 62, 65, 90, 



102, 163, 180 

Churchill, Lady Jane, 444 

, Lord Randolph, 324 

Clark, Somers, quoted 360, 303 

Clarke, Francis, 174 

Clayden, Philip, 192 

Cobb, Frances Power, 315 

Colenso, Dr., 127 

Conference of Berlin, 235 

Connaught, Arthur, Duke of, 1 1, 
38, 117-18, 130, 147, 159, 193, 
240, 247, 259, 282, 404-5, 413-14 

, Louise Margaret, Duchess of, 

240 

Conway, Moncure D., quoted 91, 
118, 237 

Cortazzo, Oreste, 374 

Costello, Fenian, 117 

Cowell, Sir John, 100, 283, 316 

Cromer, Lord, 262-3, 271 

Crown Prince. See Frederick, Em- 
peror. 

Crown Princess. See Frederick, 
Empress. 

Cumberland, Duke of, 405 

Daily News, 216, 228 

De Quincey, Thomas, quoted 342 

Derby, Lord, I4th Earl, 52, 54-5, 
114, 127, 234 

, Lord, 1 5th Earl, 365 

Dicey, Sir Edward, 18 

Dickens, Charles, 317 

Dilke, Sir Charles, 162, 158, 169, 
189, 250 

Disraeli, Benjamin, Lord Beacons- 
field, quoted 3, 45, 55-6, 85, 
106 et seg., 115, 118-19, 125, 
127, 129, 134, 160, 188 et seg., 
214 et seg., 227, 233 et seg., 
239-40, 241-3, 246 et seg., 250, 
277. 312, 315 

Dixie, Lady Florence, 284 

Drummond, Hon. Adelaide, 422 

Dudley, Lord, 94 

Duff, Right Hon. Sir E. M. Grant, 
quoted 109, 134, 145 



INDEX 



449 



Dufferin, Lord, 262-3. 
Dunckley H., 245 

Edinburgh, Alfred, Duke of, II, 
26, 44, 48, 90, 117, 118, 147, 193, 

197, 43 

, Marie, Duchess of, 197 etseq., 

219, 305 

Edward VII, II, 14, 15 et seq., 
28 et seq., 51, 53, 64, 67, 70, 72, 
74, 87, 102, 117, 123, 131, 147 et 
seq., 163 et seq., 177, 178, 189, 
194, 199, 200, 215, 229, 337, 344, 
346, 349, 370, 377-8, 391-2, 396, 
410, 421, 422, 440-1 

Edward of Saxe- Weimar, Prince, 

304 

Edwards, Sir Fleetwood, 85 
Ely, Marchioness of, 13, 175, 178, 

279, 285 
Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg- 

Gotha, 10, 27-8, 47, 51, 56, 142, 

403, 420 

Esher, Viscount, 241, 255 
Eugenie, Empress, 145 
Eulenburg, Count Philip, 44 

Faucit, Helena. See Martin, Lady. 
Faviani, General, 383 
Fawcett, Prof., 156-7, 169 
Feodore, Princess, Duchess of 

Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 61, 223, 

299 

Fife, Duke of, 389 
Fitzclarence, Lord Adolphus, 206 
Fitz Gerald, Edward, quoted 424 
Fitzroy, Lord Charles, 167 
Foley, J. H., 76 
Foulon, Marquis de, 322, 334 
Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria, 

48, 54 

Franco- Prussian War, 132 et seq. 
Frankfort Conference, 46 et seq. 
Frederica of Hanover, Princess, 

262, 296-8, 304 
Frederick Charles, of Prussia, 

Prince, 240 
Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Hol- 

stein Sonderburg-Augustenburg, 

50-1, 61 

, Emperor, 41, 51, 141, 361, 

364, 367, 3 6 9 ^ seq., 371 et seq., 

374-5, 381 

, Empress, 31, 41, 44, 46, 51, 
G G 



quoted 60, 65, 141-3, 154, 318, 
347, 375 ft seq., 381-3, 397, 412, 
423 

Frederick Leopold, Princess, 403-4 
, William IV, King of Prussia, 

4i 

French, Sir John, 137 
Frere, Sir Bartle, 238, 254 
Frogmore, mausoleum at, 72 
Fullerton, Commander, 206 
Furniss, Harry, 322, 402 

Geffcken, Dr., 376 

George III, 136 
V, 65, 311, 419, 422 

, King of Greece, 28 

, King of Hanover, 59, 297 

Gibbs, Frederick, 18 

Gladstone, Right Hon. W. E., 
quoted 3, 12, 57, 75, 85, 95, 106 
et seq., 114, 115, 119, 126, 128, 
133-7, 155, 157, 160, 197, 222, 
229-30, 234, 238-9, 246-51, 256 
etseq., 262, 267, 269, 271, 275-7, 
294, 307, 3i5-i6, 324, 326-7, 329 
et seq., 338 et seq., 348-9, 408 et 
seq., 420-2 

, Mrs., 235, 240, 421-2 

Glassalt Shiel, 125 

Gleichen, Count, 304, 308 

Gloucester, Duchess of, quoted 147 

Glyn, George, 327 

Gordon, General Charles G ., quoted 
246, 264-72 

, Sir Henry, 270 

, Miss, 269-70 

Gower, Lord Ronald Sutherland- 
Leveson, 38, 167, quoted 187, 227, 
242, 426, 429 

Grant, royal servant, 178 

Granville, Lord, 50, 54, 140 note, 
155, 1 88, 249, 257 

Green, J. R., quoted 165 

Greenwood, Frederick, 217 

Greville, Charles, 320 
, Henry, 34 

Grey, Hon. Charles, General, 18 
84, 86, 181 

Grote, George, 317 

Halifax, Lord, 137 
Halle, Sir Charles, 77 
Hamilton, George, 241 
Harcourt, Sir William, 343 



450 



INDEX 



Harding, General, 166 
Hartington, Lord, 249, 255-6, 269, 

330, 333 
Helena, Princess. See Christian, 

Princess. 

Helene of Waldeck-Pyrmont, 247 
Helps, Miss Alice, 83 
Helps, Sir Arthur, 84, 86, 87, 178, 

312, 321, 358 

Herbert, Auberon, 157, 169 
Her Majesty's Dolls, 322 
Herschell, Lord, 316 
Heywood, E. S., 206, 210, 211, 212 
Hicks Pasha, 263 
Hinzpeter, Herr, 397 
Hohenlohe, Prince, 27 
Holland, Queen of, 93, 138 
Hornet, The, 187, 198, 237 
Humbert, King of Italy, 93, 428 
Hunt, Ward, 126 

Ingelow, Jean, 316 
Inverness, Duchess of, 223 

Jameson, Dr., 400 
ebb, Sir Joshua, 34 
enner, Sir William, 285, 287 
errold, Douglas, quoted 311 
ordan, Dorothy, 206 

Kalomine, Countess, 303 
Kent, Duke of, 369 

, Mrs., 369 

Khedive of Egypt, 93, 130, 217 
Kitchener, Lord, 436 
Kruger, Paul, 398 et seq. 

Labouchere, Henry, M.P., 248, 390 

Lavradio, Count, 39 

Lawson, Sir Wilfred, 87 

Lear, Edward, quoted 424-5 

Le Breton, Madam, 145 

Lee, Sir Sidney, quoted 287, 329 

Leiningen, Prince, 27, 206, 211, 

304 

Leopold, King of Belgium, 8, 14, 
27-8, 31, 49, 66, 68, 105, 142, 

221 

, Prince, Duke of Albany, II, 

38, 48, 60, 123, 147, 193, 247, 
294, 405, 423 

Lincoln, President, 69 

Lind, Jenny, 38 

Lindsay, Patricia, 370 



Lohlein, valet to Prince Consort, 
217, 282 

Lome, Marquis of, 153, 158, 200 

Losinger, Mile., 383 

Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse- 
Darmstadt, 25, 51, 63, 95, 141, 
303, 36i 

Louise, Princess, Duchess of Fife, 

35. 389^90 
, Princess, Marchioness of 

Lome, 65, 147, 153, 154, 156, 

163, 177-8, 201, 262 
Lowe, Robert, 221 
Lucy, Sir H. W., quoted 225, 

quoted 393-4 
Lyell, Sir Charles, 317 
Lytton, Lord, 222, 238 

MacCarthy, Justin, 222 
Macdonald, General, 252 
MacDowell, Patrick, 99 
Mackenzie, Sir Morell, 374, 376, 

38i 

Maclean, Robert, 274 

Macleod, Dr. Norman, in, 139, 
223 

Mahdi, The, 263 et seq. 

Malmesbury, Lord, 13, 35, 52, 127 

Manchester Guardian, 232 

Marlborough House, 30 

Martin, Lady, 82, 388 

, Sir Theodore, 82, 86, 96, 232, 

312, 388 

Mary, Queen, 419 

Maude, Princess, Queen of Nor- 
way, 431 

Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 69 

Maye, Sergeant William, 279 

Melbourne, Lord, 4, 5, 292 

Methuen, Lord, 285 

Metternich, Prince, 17 

Montgomery, Alfred, 281 

Mordaunt, Lady, 157 

, Sir Charles, 150 

Morgan, Matt, 105 

Morley, John, 325, 390-1 

Napoleon 111,68,93, 124, 137 et seq^ 

146 

Neele, G. P., 102, 168, 174, 358 
Neild, John Camden, 392 
Nicholas II, 420 
Noer, Count de. See Frederick of 

Schleswig-Holstein. 



INDEX 



451 



O'Connor, Fenian, 166 
O'Donoghue, The, M.P., 176 
O'Farrell, a Fenian, 117 
Oranmore, Lord, 157 
O'Sullivan, Mayor of Cork, 118 
Ott, Monsieur, chef to Queen Vic- 
toria, 44 
Otto, King of Greece, 27 

Pakington, Sir John, 1 34 

Pall Mall Gazette, 156 

Palmerston, Lady, 39 

, Lord, 13, 27, 37, 50, 52, 55, 

58, 66, 93, 127, 133, 144 
Parnell, Charles S., 248, 275, 326, 

333 

Paton, Sir Noel, 72 
Peel, Misses, 206 

, Sir Robert, 157 

Phipps, Sir Charles, 13, 84 
Play/air, Sir Lyon, 18, 309, quoted 

364 

Pollock, Justice Baron, 33 
Ponsonby, General Sir Henry, 85, 

212, 256, 277, 279, 285, 290, 316, 

321, 324, 331, 335, 411 

, Lady, 84 

Prince Imperial, The, 224, 238, 261 
Punch, quoted 15, 34, 54, 62, 80, 

100, 118, 180, 212, 311, 323 

Quarterly Review, The, 42, 84 

Rammingen, Baron Pawell von, 
296-8 

Rawlinson, Sir Henry, 193 

Rayleigh, Lord, 309 

Reardon, M.P., 124 

Reeve, Henry, 320-1 

Reid, Dr., 285 

Rey nolds 1 s Newspaper, 23 

Rhodes, Cecil, 400, 402 

Richmond, Duke of, 121 

Roberts, Lord, 255, 444 

Robins, Rev. Arthur, 355 

Rose, A. McGregor, quoted 384 

Rosebery, Lord, 413, 415, 432 

Rossa, O'Donovan, 76 

Roxburgh, Duchess of, 298 

Royal Horticultural Gardens, 72 

Royal Red Cross, order of, insti- 
tuted, 262 

Russell, Sir Edward, quoted 183 

, Hon. G. W. E., 241, 245 



Russell, Lord John, 50, 52, 65, 112- 

13, 127, 224 
, Lord Odo, 144, 236 

Salisbury, Marquis of. 93, 235, 237, 

242, 323-5, 327, 329 et seq., 384, 

406, 415 

Sandringham House, 30 
Saxony, King of, 46 
Schleswig-Holstein, 50 
Schouvaloff, Count, 197 
Scott, Sir Francis, 417 
Seton, Mr., a bootmaker, 67 
Shaftesbury, Lord, 220 
Shah of Persia, 192 et seq. 
Smith, Sydney, 119, quoted Af?] 
Spencer, Lord, 425 
Standard, The, 141 
Stanley, Dean, 128, 278 

, Lady Augusta, 175, 223, 

317-18 

Stewart, General, 325 
Stockmar, Baron, 5, 16, 42, 66, 84, 

232, 312 

Stop-Gap Government, the, 331 
Sullivan, A. M., 75 
Sunday Times, The, 103 
Sussex, Duke of, 223 

Tait, Archbishop, 127, 278 
Taylor, Peter, M.P., 157, 197 
Teck, Duke of, 63, 260, 423 
, Mary, Princess, Duchess of, 

38, 63, 66, 146, 216, 223, 422 
Tennyson, Lord, 290, 311, 314, 

316-17, 348 

Times, The, 21, 39, 169 
Tomahawk, The, 103, 105, 122 
Tuckerman, C. K., quoted 194 

Vasili, Count Paul, quoted 368 
Victoria of Hesse, Princess. 301 
Victoria, Queen : retrospective, I 
et seq. ; and Ernst of Saxe- 
Coburg, 10 ; new rule of life, 8 ; 
and Palmerston, 13 ; and Prince 
of Wales, 1 5 ; and marriage of 
Princess Alice, 26; and the 
Grecian crown, 26 ; and marriage 
of Prince of Wales, 28 ; and 
Princess Alexandra, 30; diawing- 
rooms. 31 ; at wedding of Prince 
of Wales, 38 ; affection for Prus- 
sia, 41 et seq., 47 et seq. ; and 



452 



INDEX 



Bismarck, 43 ; Denmark, 5 1 ; her 
Cabinet, 52 ; constitutional sove- 
reign, 57 ; and Prince Christian, 
60 ; Albert memorials, 70 ; seclu- 
sion, 70 ; sentimental nature, 71 ; 
mausoleum, 72 ; Craig Lowrigan 
cairn, 73 ; attacked by Dr. Cand- 
lish, 73 ; at Aberdeen, 75 ; anger 
against Dublin, 76 ; struggle with 
grandson, 77 ; state of mind, 77 ; 
rouses public resentment, 78 ; 
reception to diplomatists, 80 ; 
protest against public demands, 
81 ; her work, 82 ; mistaken ideal, 
83 ; secret staff, 84 ; literary 
work, 86 ; Life of Prince Con- 
sort, 86 ; Leaves from her 
Journal, 86 ; yearly routine, 86 ; 
opens Parliament, 90 ; refusal to 
invite royal visitors, 93 ; bestows 
Garter upon Sultan, 95 ; founda- 
tion stone of Albert Hall, 96 ; 
love of Scotland, 96 ; unpopu- 
larity, 97 ; official explanation 
of seclusion, 98 ; visits Bucking- 
ham Palace, holds drawing-room, 
gives garden party, 98 

John Brown, 1 00-4 ; friendship 
for Disraeli, no; dislike for 
Gladstone, 1 10 ; eulogism of 
Dr. Macleod, in ; absorbed in 
Austro-Prussian war, 112 ; goes 
to Balmoral during political crisis, 
113; anger at resignation of 
Cabinet, 113; laughs at Fenian 
threats, 1 16 ; distress at attempted 
assassination of son, 117; Irish 
Church Bill, 119, 128; Disraeli 
throws responsibility upon, 120 ; 
flight to Scotland, 121 ; menacing 
criticism of, 122 ; Regency Bill 
suggested, 123 ; health, 124 ; goes 
to Switzerland, 124; receives 
John Bright, 126 ; and A. C. Tait, 
127 ; refuses to open Parliament, 
128-9 > fiftieth birthday, 129 ; 
Khedive as guest, 130 ; opens 
Blackfriars Bridge, 131 ; head of 
the Army, 133 ; signs warrant 
against purchase of commission, 
136; feeling against Napoleon 1 1 1, 
139 ; hatred of Bismarck for, 142 ; 
unpopular in Germany, 144 ; re- 
ceives Empress Eugenie, 145 ; and 



Napoleon III, 146 ; her children, 
147 ; distress at scandals about 
Prince of Wales, 152 ; Lome 
marriage, 154 ; opens Parliament, 
1 54 ; her use of public money 
discussed in Parliament, 155 ; 
holds Court, 157 ; wedding of 
Princess Louise, 158 ; resentment 
against public criticism, 159 ; also 
against Gladstone, 160; neuralgia 
and rheumatic gout, 161 ; attack 
by Sir Charles Dilke, 162 ; goes 
to Sandringham, 163 ; and the 
illness of Prince of Wales, 164 ; 
threatened by O'Connor, 166 ; 
decorates John Brown, 167 ; her 
income, 170; simplicity in Scot- 
land, 172 ; journeys to the north, 
1 73 ; nearly an accident, 1 76 ; 
dances a reel, 179 ; thrown out 
of carriage, 180; and sightseers, 
181 ; her landed property, 183 ; 
kindness to individuals, 185 ; love 
of dogs, dislike for cats, 185 ; 
and Prince of Wales's debts, 189 ; 
rebukes Gladstone, 190; and 
Disraeli, 190 ; meets the Shah, 
195; meets Grand Duchess Marie 
in London, 198. 

Queen's yacht runs down the 
Mistletoe, 206 ; tries to protect 
Leiningen, 209 ; desire for speed, 
209 ; letter to Royal Yacht Club, 
2ii ; bitter criticism of it, 213 ; 
intercedes against Prussia's war- 
like plans, 215 ; sends Prince of 
Wales to India, 217; Empress 
of India, 218 ; opens wing of 
London Hospital, 220 ; creates 
Disraeli Lord Beaconsfield, 222 ; 
goes more into public, 223 ; and 
Russia, 226 ; Prince Consort's 
influence, 227 ; and Bulgaria, 
230 ; and Gladstone, 230 ; issues 
Crimean volume of Life of 
Prince Consort, 231 ; disgust 
with Russian success, 233 ; 
lunches at Hughenden, 233 ; gives 
the Garter to Lord Beaconsfield, 
238 ; and Empress Eugenie, 239 ; 
"Dictatress of Europe," 240; 
publicly slights the Gladstones, 
240 ; goes to Germany, 242 ; 
tribute to Disraeli, 243 ; visits his 



INDEX 



453 



grave, 244 ; letters from, quoted 
246 ; influence upon, of Disraeli 
and Gladstone, 246-7 ; Glad- 
stone, 249-50, 258, 273, 276 ; and 
the Army, 250 et seq., 413 et seq., 
439; at Edinburgh, 251; and 
foreign policy, 254; and with- 
drawal from Afghanistan, 256; 
and Turkey, 257 ; and nurses, 
262 ; and Egypt, 262-3, 267 ; and 
General Gordon, 269; attempt 
on, 274; threatened, 276; and 
Court mourning, 277 ; loss of 
friends, 278, 294; at funeral of 
Sergeant Maye, 279; at funeral 
of John Brown, senior, 279 ; and 
John Brown, 281 et seq. ; precau- 
tions in travelling, 283 ; accident 
to, 284; and Lady Florence 
Dixie, 284; and John Brown's 
death, 285 et seq., 289 et seq. ; 
rumours as to mental condition 
of, 289 ; more Leaves, 291, quoted, 
296; as matchmaker, 296 etseq., 
380; and Frederica, Princess of 
Hanover, 296-8 ; at Baden- 
Baden, 299; sojourns abroad, 
299 et seq. 

Snubs Gladstone, 307 ; love of 
Stuarts, 308, 366; her Germanic 
ideals, 312; foreign policy, 313; 
and Women's Rights, 314; and 
Mrs. Gladstone, 315; and men 
of letters, 317-18; and the 
position of women, 319; and the 
arts, 32 1 ; Her Majesty's Dolls, 
322 ; and the People's Palace, 
254, 324; offers Gladstone a 
peerage, 321 ; neglect of Lon- 
don, 332 ; over-carefulness with 
money, 333-4, 359, 393-4; self- 
absorption, 336 ; anti-Liberal 
sympathies, 338, 357 ; and Ire- 
land, 339; and Jubilee, 342; 
reappearances in public, 343 ; 
opens Exhibition at South Ken- 
sington, 344 ; at Liverpool, 345 ; 
opens Royal Holloway College, 
345 ; at Edinburgh, 345 ; and 
Prince and Princess of Wales, 
346 et seq. ', dislike of tobacco, 
349; and the Battenbergs, 350; 
and theatrical performances, 351, 
430-1 ; at Birmingham, 352 ; love 



of children, 352; at Wild West 
Show, 353; the Jubilee of, 354 
et seq.', learns Hindustani, 356; 
visits Lord Salisbury, 366; and 
William II of Prussia, 377 etseq., 
395 ; and the Conservatives, 384; 
the Imperial ideal, 385 ; and the 
Irish, 386-7 ; renewed activities, 
387 ; at Bristol, 387 ; visit to 
Wales, 388 ; and her grand- 
children, 389-91 ; her Civil List, 
392 ; her yachts, 394 ; colonel of 
German dragoons, 395 ; gives 
Germany Heligoland, 396 ; and 
the Kaiser's Kruger telegram, 
401 ; and Cecil Rhodes, 402 ; her 
party politics, 406 et seq. ; dis- 
missal of Gladstone, 410-12; 
family sorrows, 418-19 ; journeys 
abroad, 424 et seq. ', travelling 
precautions, 428 ; growing old, 
430; and the Diamond Jubilee, 
433 et seq.', and the Irish, 440; 
visit to Ireland, 441-2, failing 
powers, death and funeral, 444. 

Victoria of Prussia, Princess, 302, 
351, yjgetseg. 
, Princess of Wales, 65 

Vitzthum, Count, 54 

Von Angeli, 321-2 

Von Reuss, Countess, 369 

Waddington, Mme., 282 

Wales, Prince of. See Edward VI I. 

, Princess of. See Alexandra, 

Queen. 

Warren, Colonel, Fenian, 117 
Watts, G. F., 322 
Weekes, Henry, 99 
Wellesley, Dean, 241, 278 
Wellington, 1st Duke of, 5, 133 

, Duke of, 33 
Welsh, Captain, 206, 210, 211 
West, Sir Algernon, quoted 280, 406 

, Hon. M., 279 

Westminster, Duchess of, 39, 243 
Wilberforce, Bishop, 128, 129 
William George of Denmark. See 

George, King of Greece. 
William I, King of Prussia, German 

Emperor, 28, 41-3, 46 et seq., 54, 

140-3, 149, 303, 371, 374. 381 
II, German Emperor, 38, 76, 

259, 283, 300-2, 349, 367, 372 



454 



INDEX 



et seq., 374 et seq., 382-3, 395 

et seq., 438-9, 445 
William IV, 3, 90, 206 
Winchester, Bishop of, 435 

, Marquis of, 155 

Windsor Castle, 9 



Winterhalter, 321 
Wolseley, Lord, 258, 271, 415 
Wood, Sir Evelyn, 263, 41 3 
Wyattville, Sir Jeffrey, 10 

Young, Albert, 276 



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